The mantra of Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book The Long Winter has been rolling through my mind often lately. Paraphrasing, she said, the end of January was near; February was a short month; and March would be spring.
Please, God, let March be spring.
I’ve written before about my own mental health struggles, which have arisen again this winter with a vengeance, and the slow pace of January (which seemed to last for at least a year), with its myriad snow storms, blizzards, and bone-chilling cold, hasn’t helped at all.
Schools were closed. Even my campus was closed for two bitterly cold days to all employees except those deemed weather-essential. We had regular temperatures in the negative thirties, with wind chills that took that already-inconceivable number down to the negative sixties.
Antarctica, anyone? Nope. Just Minnesota.
We had yet another blizzard on Sunday-into-Monday, and the howling winds that scoured our snug townhome were loud, and frightening.
In another chapter of The Long Winter, Charles Ingalls, finally breaking under the strain of the wind, yells, “Blast you, howl!”
Well, I did a little shouting, myself. My youngest children and I decided to yell back at the wind because it was being too loud. We giggled our way through the howling, and they slept soundly, afterwards.
The thing is, we can’t guarantee that March will be spring. In that horribly long winter of 1880-1881 that Wilder documents in her book, spring didn’t truly arrive until May, with a late blizzard or two making even April difficult.
But Wilder also was a careful to point out, in her optimism, that spring would eventually come. It was a certainty. And all we have to do, when the long winter makes us feel bleak, is remember that spring will come.
Meanwhile, I’ve been checking out beachfront properties on Zillow. In the south.