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Winter is fully upon us and evidently, also upon a bunch of people who are not as accustomed to what that means as we are. I gather that the situation in places like Georgia, the Carolinas, and Texas were pretty bad. Really bad, in fact. Ok, almost apocalyptic.
The very nice part of me feels bad for these folks. If you don't have the equipment to deal with a lot of snow and frigid temperatures and have no real knowledge or experience dealing with it things can get very bad very fast. On the other hand, if I am going to be totally honest, there is a very small part of me of which I am rather ashamed, which is chuckling in an evil kind of way.
When you live where we do and have spent a lot of time listening to people talk about how horrible it must be to live in the north and how stupid we must be to do it, it can get just a tad tiresome after a while. I usually ignore the comments because I love the north, have lived in the south, and see no reason to ever do it again unless I want to torture myself for some reason, but it can get to me after about the 400th time I have to listen to it. It makes me a little crabby.
There is some part of me that is no doubt a genetic leftover from my Celtic/Scandinavian ancestors that takes pride in being tough and hearty enough to live in a place that gets the kind of weather we do. I'm not sure what it is, but it is definitely a part of who I am. I grew up in a kind of mild weather paradise but I am not put off or afraid of winter. I think it might come from my Scottish highland ancestors who lived in a place so remote and inhospitable that only sheep can pull it off without going nuts, and some people might say that sheep are kind of nuts anyway. It may be one of those chicken or the egg things.
I try not to whine or carry on about the cold because I hate sounding like a wimp. I don't like driving in snow or ice, but I do it anyway. I have learned from experience that it is really all about how you dress for it that makes the difference and I do so with very little thought to fashion. I would rather be warm than fashionable any day. I have a wonderful sweater that my daughter brought me back from Peru which weighs nothing and is unbelievably warm that I can wear with my down vest in almost any weather and be warm. It may make me look like I should be herding llamas in the Andes mountains but I don't care – I'm warm.
The biggest aspect of dealing with winter in my world is not being a wimp about it. I refuse to behave as if I were some delicate hot house flower that will die in the cold. I snowshoe and hike in pretty cold temperatures and I have found that has helped with my resistance to the cold. I often think about people living up here 100 years ago and how they must have suffered with only fireplaces for heat, a method that is largely useless. The wood stove in the kitchen must have been the most valuable thing anyone could own. There would have been no modern thermal materials that were invented by NASA for the space program, no small packets of chemicals to stick in your gloves or booths that keep you warm, no heated car seats, or even closed cars for that matter. It must have been very difficult and very cold and very uncomfortable. People must have been a lot tougher than they are now...about a lot of things.
My personal plan is to be as prepared to survive an apocalypse as I possibly can. I can build a fire, plant a garden, can food, knit a sweater or mittens, and do a bunch of other useful things I have deliberately learned to do over the years. I like the idea of being able to do useful things that have nothing to do with electronics, microwaves, cell phones, or any other devices upon which we have come to depend so heavily in our culture in a very short time. I can work on my car (up to a point), fix things that are broken, build simple things that need to be built, sew, knit, and crochet clothes, and do a bunch of other little useful things that may seem inconsequential in today's world but would be rather important if aliens attacked or someone destroyed the power grid. I'm not one of those people who sees conspiracies everywhere or worries about zombies attacking, but I like the idea of being able to take care of business and be as independent as possible. It may be old school, but it works for me.
I made it a point to make sure that my children, including the boys, could sew well enough to repair clothing that needed it, cook, and do simple repairs on machines. My daughter had quite a cottage industry going when she was in college fixing and repairing clothing and other things because so many of her peers were utterly helpless and unable to sew on so much as a button.
I may not be able to survive everything, but I'm pretty sure that I can handle aliens and zombies – even in the winter.
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