"Now is the winter of our discontent…" Those are the first words of William Shakespeare's play, Richard III. And the title of John Steinbeck's last novel. In either case, they're an apt description of the past few months in my neck of the woods--and possibly yours?
This has been the longest stretch I can remember of such gray, cold, sometimes icy, and snowy weather. Last week we had eight inches of the fluffy white stuff! And according to the forecast, there'll be more tomorrow. Sigh.
Here on my little mountain (1400 feet high) in southeast TN, and in the valley/city below, normally we see only a few picturesque flakes of white now and then with no accumulation. At the first hint of bad weather the entire place shuts down. Schools close. Events are canceled. The roads clear of any cars. The shelves in grocery stores are quickly stripped bare. The other day before this season's latest storm, there wasn't a bag of sugar to be had.
Not to worry, though. I'm a veteran of bad winters and I come prepared. When I lived in Ithaca, New York, and had two little boys under five, we had 100 inches of snow one winter, which wasn't unusual there. I learned to stock my cupboards by mid-October. I still do--to the amusement of my newer neighbors in the South. My first year here, they laughed at me for keeping at least a week's worth of food on hand, a big box of powdered milk, and all the basic supplies to make bread. "If it ever snows here," they said, "we'll know where to come."
They're not laughing now. But then, neither am I. Like them, I've been hibernating all winter, staying warm and cozy by the fire. And being a writer has its perks. I can work in my slippers if I want to. In spite of the cold and wind outside, and often a pearly fog that comes right up to the windows, shutting me in a cocoon of clouds, over the past few months I've had a grand time plotting a new story and getting to know some new characters.
Besides, how much longer can winter last? It's already March and next weekend Daylight Savings Time begins. Spring is just around the corner. Sir William and Mr. Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent is almost over!
Wherever you live, how did you survive the season? Are you an outdoor person who welcomed the opportunity to ski? Or did the weather make your productive indoors--perhaps working your way through that To Be Read pile at last?
Happy reading! Happy Spring!
(P.S. Looking ahead to summer, in July my Heartwarming title, Man of the Family, will be on the shelves.)