Our family have been enjoying listening to the Little House on the Prairie series as we travel in the van.
The rawness of frontier life lies in stark contrast to our comfortable and well maintained life in the 21st century.
For Laura Ingalls and her family, a winter storm meant the cold cruelty of hard work and suffering, offset only by evenings gathered around the glowing cookstove and the sound of Pa’s violin.
For us, the first snowstorm of the year, a certified blizzard in itself that kept us home from church today and which has cut off our view of the football stadium across the road from our living room window, has meant a quiet afternoon listening to stories on the iPod, drinking hot chocolate and jaunts outside with the kids to pretend we are arctic explores.
I love winter for this reason.
It slows life and by coming in, we are able to slow down and come out. Ideas from the long months of business begin to settle, to sift themselves into the spaces between activity and to come alive for the first time. It is as Annie Dillard writes about in her winterish book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
It was also Annie Dillard who reminds us that:
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Today, I’m spending mine with my kids – inside and out, with a few cups of hot apple cider, a visit to the nursing home to visit my wife’s grandfather, with games and stories and a bit more.