WAITING

The FORUM headline this morning is about all the schools that are closing down as a winter storm closes in our region.
And we are waiting…as we are so used to doing if we have lived in this area of MN and ND for a long time or for some….. their whole lives.
When I lived in Washingon state there were no such waiting times for a blizzard to bear down on us. I kind of missed those blizzards then…we got dreary rain and slushy snow but just a minimum amount…lots of rain in the winter months.

The air is thick this morning. It looks like you could cut a slice of it with a table knife. The gray gloomy pall that hangs over our woods is …heavy..that is the only word I can think of to describe it.
It is part of the waiting for the storm today….if this continues we could see the kind of conditions that were so onerous in November 1977 when the first big blizzard was preceded by lots of freezing rain and for the rest of that long winter in which we had multiple storms (Highway 10 was blocked several times that year) the initial coating of frozen rain and slush never did get scraped off the highways….it took warm days of spring to finally melt the frozern clods off the highways and roads.
A day like today brings back the “heebie-jeebies” we felt when school (my pre-retirement days) started—- but we knew a storm was coming in and we were all fearful of the trip home when school was finally cancelled. There was one storm where we were dismissed too late and many of us drove right into the storm that was coming in from the west. That was one time I thought I was going to die….frozen solid and trapped in a vehicle…but thankfully I got home although the memory of the trip still haunts me and gives me flashbacks of thinking of pulling into Eksjo Church and breaking a window and crawling into the lower level.
Storms like we get in winter are not to be messed with but some people do mess with them and consider it “macho’ to travel when no travel is advised. Those Macho folks often get caught and then are calling on cell phones begging for help which endangers those who have to respond to the calls. I do not appreciate those who think they can”drive through anything” and find out that the warnings should have been heeded. I think those types should be charged a huge fee for their rescues if they deliberately ignored the warnings to stay off roads and highways.
I have been filling bird feeders so the Redpolls and Chickadees ,Juncos and Nuthatches are well fed before the storm hits. I know that small winter birds protect themselves in shelters of tree hollows made by squirrels or woodpeckers; they get as many as 30- 40 little bird bodies into those hollows, fluff up their feathers and keep each other warm and safe. How else could our winter birds survive our sometimes- brutal 30- below days and nights?
I need to fill one more feeder that stands beside the thick protective blue spruce trees that form a long row in our yard. Those trees are full of small winter birds on any day but today there may be more of them getting out of the weather for a short time before the real winds and snow begin.
I am caught without a new book to read so I may have to take one of my favorites off my bookshelf in my “reading room” and peruse one I have read before. I can always get into “1776″ by David McCullough again; also THOSE DAYS by Richard Critchfield, a native North Dakotan who wrote a stunning biography of his family; I have books of poetry which do not grow stale ever….and I have a couple of writing projects to work on.
One of them is going to be really fun to do; it is a hometown reminiscense of a restaurant that was such a huge part of town life for many years. It’s original name was MAC’S SWEET SHOP and there are so many stories from its era. I have contacted some who were teenagers when “Mac’s” was at it’s busiest. I can scarcely wait to hear their stories and remembrances…but I have to wait til Monday when I will have coffee with both of them.
In the meantime–for a couple of days…we are all WAITING.

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