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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Storm

Air Date: Week of November 21, 1997

The official start of winter is still a month away, but some regions of the nation have already experienced significant snow fall. In Minnesota, commentator Susan Carol Hauser is growing anxious anticipating the first big storm of the season, and for good reason. Susan Carol Hauser is author of "Sugartime: The Hidden Pleasures of Making Maple Syrup." She comes to us from station KNBJ in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Transcript

CURWOOD: The official start of winter is still a month away. But some regions of the nation have already experienced significant snowfall. In Minnesota, commentator Susan Carol Hauser is growing anxious, anticipating the first big storm of the season, and for good reason.

HAUSER: All day, we wait for the blizzard. If it follows predictions, it will come up from Texas and across Kansas and Iowa. It is even supposed to find us here in our northwestern corner of Minnesota. In anticipation of the storm, and of the pleasure of being safely stranded, my husband and I move stove wood from outside to in. Then we turn our attention to the horizon, where the gray clouds seem far away and unconcerned with earth. As the day's footprints glimmer in the last light of the failing sun, we comment on the obvious. This storm, like some human ambitions, has faltered along the way, dissolved in a passing wind, or taken a turn in a different direction.

Disappointed, we eat in the early dark, pick up our nightly pleasures, books and knitting, and turn on the television. But during those hours between work and rest, we sense something moving in the dark beyond the windows. I leave my chair, go to the back door, and turn on the outside white. Snow blows sideways through the wide beam. My husband joins me, and we stare down the slope to the edge of the yard, where we can see the faint outlines of the old barn foundation.

Jenny, who lived here early in this century, told us that once during a blizzard, she tended sheep there in birthing time with only a lantern and the heat of new life for warmth. Her husband was in town, and she only hoped that he had seen how ripe the clouds were and had not tried to come home, or had stopped along the way to spend the night with strangers.

We turn off the outside light, stoke the fire, and return to our chairs. But now it is different. We are being snowed in. We get to stay home, can't leave if we want to, can't leave if we have to. Our schedule for tomorrow wiped out with the same thoroughness as tracks covered by blowing snow. The promise and the threat rub against us like a coarse blanket, both keeping us warm and reminding us of how cold winter can be.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Commentator Susan Carol Hauser is author of Sugartime: The Hidden Pleasures of Making Maple Syrup. She comes to us from KNBJ in Bemidji, Minnesota. You're listening to NPR's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.

 

 

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