From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Mighty cold


Finally, it has arrived -- the blast of cold weather we've been reading, hearing, and thinking about for the last week. The wind is howling through the trees, and the thermometer on the porch says +5°F. By morning, it will be zero.

Of course, the cold temperatures in southern Kentucky are nothing much, compared to states north of us. Some of our rain and sleet was "flash-frozen" on our roads when the cold air arrived tonight, but we didn't get enough snow to cover the ground. I'm thankful.

Yesterday was a mild sunny day. The sky was blue until sunset when a low gray bank of clouds appeared on the western horizon. It was the sort of day that once might have lured a pioneer into hitching up his team and setting off on a long trip to town for supplies. We've all heard the sad stories of people who perished in winter storms that appeared from nowhere. Now we have an entire weather industry that keeps us warned about dangerous weather we might not otherwise anticipate.

About 3:00 pm yesterday, one of my ears suddenly began to ache. I didn't recognize that as a weather omen but Keely (my personal scientist) pointed out that the barometric pressure was dropping rapidly, and my somewhat stuffy head probably wasn't equalized yet. I think she was right. Six hours later, the earache was gone.

My father's cattle must have been good at reading the weather signs. When a winter storm was near, they always gathered at the windbreaks closest to the buildings. Remembering them makes me worry about the livestock and other animals that are outside in this weather, and the people who are working outside doing important, necessary things that are made very difficult by the cold.

I'm also a little worried about the electricity which has blinked six times tonight so far. Wind gusts are blowing something against the wires and creating a short circuit somewhere, I suspect. We have plenty of flashlight batteries and lamp oil, but I hope we don't need them. Pennyrile Electric posted on Facebook a few minutes ago that they have power outages affecting over 1200 members.

Earlier today, a Sunday School song (Psalms 118:24) came to mind: "This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." I am glad tonight, most of all for warmth and shelter. And, while it's a little hard to rejoice, I do respect and honor the Creator who put the mighty forces of nature in place and set them in motion.
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.