Sunday, September 18, 2011
Why (do) We Live Here.
It's raining outside, I've got a hot cup of coffee, scentsy melting in the warmer across the room - pretty much the perfect fall day. That is, if I weren't sick, if Brent weren't sick, and if my daughter didn't have a fever. (I'm not sure she's sick per se, since she is cutting a tooth right now.) It's been quite the week with health - or lack thereof - in our house. Despite not feeling up to par, however, I will say it is the perfect fall day.
It's been a while since my last blog post - so long I don't even remember what the last one was about - and I don't really have anything funny or profound to share, but something about today just compelled me to sit and type. So...here I am with my mind mumbles.
Fall is absolutely my favorite season - football, the smells, colors, football, home decor, baked goods - I love everything about fall. Pumpkin bread, football, apple cider, pumpkin seeds, Thanksgiving (my second favorite holiday, following 4th of July), perfect knitting weather. Fall embodies most everything I love. Except the fact it's the segue to winter.
Winter in Wyoming wasn't always pleasant, but it was quick and painless. Snow today gone tomorrow, wind, wind, and more wind, and lots of sunshine. I complained every year about the cold, but I take back everything bad I ever said about a Wyoming winter. Ever. I'm dreading winter. D r e a d i n g.
Winter here is more than just a season. It's a test of survival. An actual way of life. Winter is a resident. With voting rights. It starts around Halloween - if we're lucky to hold out that long. It turns cold quickly. Then until May - we're in the tundra of white. I love white - it symbolizes purity, peace, renewal......unless you're in North Dakota and it symbolizes six months of the year.
Last winter we got over 84" of snow. SNOW. EIGHTY FOUR INCHES OF IT! Driving through town was like being a lab-rat in a maze....a maze of giant white walls. Can you find your way to work without getting broadsided or sliding through an intersection? Scientists are dying to know.
And the cold. When it goes more than a week without rising above 0, that's cold. I'm not talking below freezing, BELOW ZERO. Goose egg. Absence of all warmth. Below that. When the forecasted high is a negative number, that just doesn't do it for me.
We've lived here for almost six years (many of you just lost the bet we wouldn't last here this long) and we have lived through three of the TOP FIVE worst winters on record. Talk about a welcome-wagon. "Hi, welcome! This is what it would be like if hell actually froze over. Care for some kuchen?" I've gotta tell you, Germans, Norwegians, and German-Norwegians are some tough breeds of people. They settled here and didn't leave. And people say they're stubborn......
The worst is when the power goes out. Mostly because Brent makes fun of me for panicking, but it doesn't take long for the house to get cold when there's no furnace running. The power seems to go out in the middle of raging blizzards where the temperature isn't even on the radar. Something about high winds, brittle tree limbs, and above-ground power lines....I'm not sure, you do the math. My heroes - along with the flood fighters in the spring (we've got it all, folks - this is the land of opportunity!) - are the Xcel Energy employees who have to restore power in those conditions, up in a bucket truck being blinded by blowing snow and handling tools with gloved hands so I can stay warm.
Yet when you live through a spring (and survive yet another flood that is only supposed to occur every 100 years, but makes an annual appearance) and a summer here and experience the beautiful weather, the calm of the prairie, (and survive the tornadoes and brutal-but-awesome thunderstorms) - you realize why people stick around. It's always worth the wait. Besides, who doesn't love an adventure?
So here we are, another autumn. Another gateway to life on the frozen edge. I'll tell you what, though, I do love fall. This cup of coffee and unfinished sweater I've been working on for the last five months can attest to that.
I'm sure this post has got you wondering why I'm not a spokesperson for encouraging people to move here....I know, I wonder that too. Care for some kuchen?