I think we could say this has been a frozen February. The last two weeks, our area has been hammered with winter weather. We appreciated the beauty of that first nine-inch snowfall. It was fun to see the kids playing in it, and I even enjoyed the exertion of shoveling out our vehicles. Tuesday, it was my fortieth birthday, and my husband remarked that my birthday seems to coincide with big snowfalls. I guess that can be expected for a February birthday! The next day we went sledding. There is quite a thrill in speeding weightless down a hill, but then the effort to climb back up to the top begins to get old after a bit.
We were glad that we had shoveled out our vehicles before the weather turned destructive. The main roads were plowed, but many side roads had not been touched before the minus temperatures turned the snow to a thick layer of ice. The lowest our thermometer recorded was -12 F, but some of the surrounding areas recorded in the -20s F and even down to -30 F. When we came downstairs Thursday morning, our inside temperature read 58 F. It took all day with the sun shining and me baking cookies, bars, and crackers for the house to warm up to 68 F. We were thankful that we did not lose water or electricity. Our hot water to the bathtub froze but was thawed by the next day. Many people in our area had frozen water and lost electricity for hours at a time.
That night it began to snow again, and we awoke to four more inches. Mid-morning, the snow turned to rain; and by evening, we had close to three inches of rain on top of all that frozen snow. The streets ran with several inches of water and debris. Reports of buildings, carports, and roofs collapsing began to circulate. Many were true, a few were rumors. Our shed roof collapsed, but it did not damage the bikes and lawn equipment stored there. The most interesting picture I saw was of a carport that had grabbed the car underneath it and took the car with it when it collapsed to the side, leaving the car sitting on the driver’s side. Friday afternoon, we drove to town to get a few groceries. We were surprised by how much snow and water lay in the parking lots and side streets. In the grocery store parking lot, I pushed my cart through several inches of frozen slush.
With all the debris floating down the streets and river, a neighboring town lost water. Debris accumulated in the intake pump. A team had to be brought in to go down in the river and remove the debris. As I write, six days later, the water is just now being restored. Thankfully there was enough snow around for people to melt for some uses, but most businesses could not be open causing quite a loss of income and services.
Over the weekend, we had several more inches of snow. There are still many icy roads. People have been working tirelessly to clear roads and address damage and hardships others are facing. Churches and activities have been cancelled. Public schools have been closed through the end of this week. I am sure these two weeks will be remembered and talked about in the days to come. I am thankful that our family did not experience great hardship through this weather, but many folks did. For them I pray for provision as recovery continues.
There have been positive outcomes from the hardships. Hardships have a way of drawing people together, neighbors help each other, and people think of creative ways to deal with problems. For myself, I have enjoyed being at home with no other activities or responsibilities. In addition to the weather, taking a sabbath from school last week, forced us to slow down, spend time together as a family, and just have time to contemplate. I noticed the children being more creative in their play, reading books that had sat on the shelf for a while, listening to stories on CD. As a family, we played Outburst, Apples to Apples, and Clue. We watched Anne of Green Gables. I got out my guitar and dulcimer and practiced and learned. My husband worked on wood projects with our youngest. The children and I created bead bracelets and decorated magnets that we hope to sell at the farmer’s market in the spring.
When we started back to school this week, we all felt fresh and ready for a routine again. The children will be happy to have their activities resume, and so will I; but every once in a while, it is good to have that routine disrupted and allow our minds and spirits time to rejuvenate. So in spite of the hardships of this winter storm, I will give thanks for “Frozen February!”