One of my favorite books is The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Each winter, at some point, I read it cover to cover and find myself transported back into a time I think I would have reveled in. The story begins with Pa and Laura working dawn to dusk to cut hay and stack it. The coming winter is foreshadowed when the two discover a muskrat den with very thick walls: “The colder the winter will be, the thicker the muskrats build the walls of their houses,” Pa told her. “I never saw a heavier-built muskrats’ house than that one.” (Wilder.1953.)
And the cold winter moves in, the people doing the best they can to survive. The Ingalls family comes down to very short rations as the trains are stuck drifted on the tracks and supplies cannot get through. Yet they rely on their faith and family and do their best to make it, while still considering the neighbors in town as everyone becomes community so no one starves.
When I read it, I feel the painful cold fingers and toes and yet the warmth of the family close by the stove. I love the way they rationed stories, so they had something to look forward to each day.
Words can bring light and hope in so many dark places.