We’re having the first storm of winter, and it’s been snowing for two or three days. Yesterday after doing some errands in town, I was so cold and tired when I got back that I got under the winter sleeping bag on the couch by the fire in the woodstove, and slept for an hour.
Today after lunch I had to refill the woodbox. That meant shovelling the snow drift off the tarps covering the woodpile, removing the boards that hold down the tarps, unwrapping the large, frozen, heavy plastic tarps while the wind tugs at them, filling the wood sling and carefully manoeuvreing the uneven steps into the laundry room where the wood box is kept. I have to carry the sling full of firewood about 10 times to fill the box.
The wind was whipping snow squalls around me as I did this. The dogs were soon eager to get back inside. Little Thomas was shivering. When I had filled the woodbox, I called them back outside so we could have a bit of a walk. They love to run outside and I wanted them to be able to toilet and stretch their legs in the warmest time of the day. All I could manage was a big loop around the yard and into the front door. It is seriously dangerous outside when going into the back yard is an Arctic expedition.
I remember when I was young, hearing of farmers in storms getting lost between their houses and barns, needing to have a rope tied between the two, glad of a light on outside the barn or even a candle burning in a window at home.
Someone in Toronto was recently complaining about the price of hydro. I’m just grateful to have electricity. It means I have heat from the oil furnace, water in the pipes, the ability to flush the toilet, have a hot bath, and easily cook or bake. Without power, these conveniences are gone and everything becomes extremely difficult.
When the weather is dangerously frigid, having a snug house to retreat into, and soup on the stove or water boiling for tea, can keep you alive. I don’t take it for granted.