Girl Scout Wannabe

My husband was supposed to return tonight, but that’s out of the question now.  We’re being socked with a heavy snowstorm.  It’s simply not safe to travel the 3 hours from the Manchester NH airport to our house in Maine (even if his flight is not canceled, which it probably will be).  Assuming the roads will be passable, it would in any case take much longer than the three hours’ travel time due to the necessity of driving extra slowly and cautiously.

It started snowing at 9 a.m. and isn’t supposed to stop until 5 a.m. tomorrow morning.  Right now the snow is coming down at a rate of 1″ per hour, and it’s supposed to get especially heavy this afternoon.

It’s just me and my dog, in my house in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, in a blizzard.

Last night, in preparation for the storm,  I drove 30 miles to the nearest market.  It was cold as heck outside (-8 F) but it was clear and the roads were dry, so I figured it was now or never.  As I passed Shawnee Peak, I couldn’t believe the amount of people night-skiing under the lights.  More than thirty years ago I skied in Colorado in +7 degree weather, and I still remember how cold that felt!  That was 15 degrees warmer than last night.  Mainers are certainly hardy souls!

The moon shone so brightly, I wouldn’t have needed headlights.

I also stopped to fill up the car with gas.  In such cold weather, it would have been an impossible task without gloves to grip the frozen metal nozzle – I had one of those annoying broken ones that wouldn’t lock into place and you had to keep it pressed down in order to fill up the car.  Ditto for grasping the steel shopping carts at the market – they were all parked outside.

As soon as I got back home I put away my mittens, and put on suede and shearling work gloves.  I went out to the shed and brought in several armloads of wood – about 6 trips’ worth that weighed a few hundred pounds.  Now even if it snows for 2 days, I can avoid going outside to refuel.

This morning, just as the snow began, I drove to the post office to pick up the mail.  I’m glad I didn’t tarry, since shortly after I got back home the snow started falling in earnest, and the roads are now dangerous.

I’m not scared to be up here alone (okay, I have my limits – I won’t be watching the movie “Deliverance” anytime soon).  The key seems to be advance preparation, enjoying simple pursuits such as reading, and a sense of adventure.  But it is a little extreme, I must admit; there is certainly more to this story.  I mean, normal people my age, especially most Orthodox Jewish women, just don’t do crazy stuff like this.  (And few have husbands who are so tolerant.)

I admit it, a certain part of me wants to “prove” my independence (to myself, not others) on a grand and heroic scale.  Which is ridiculous, because in general  I am an independent person  and manage just fine on a typical day, thank you.  I think this need of mine is a knee-jerk reaction to the fallout from taking care of our elderly parents for the few years before they passed away.  Is there anything more traumatic, terrifying, and demeaning than losing one’s independence, and being dependent on others for one’s most basic needs?  Is there anything sadder than to see one’s parent, someone who throughout one’s childhood was one’s rock and personification of strength and power,  so diminished?  Being surrounded by frailty only heightened my awareness of how tenuous life is, and how speedily time is marching on.  I have an exaggerated need to live independently because I am on a race against time, and the inevitability of dependence and loss of personal freedoms.  I’m pushing myself to new limits, trying and experiencing new things, no matter how out of character it might seem.  Spiritually speaking, it’s a ridiculous attempt.  Because who are we without HaShem? While we might have a psychological need to feel we have control over our own lives, who are we kidding?  The minute we forget Who is really in control is the moment that He will remind us, and it isn’t always a pretty picture.  It’s a conundrum, filled with not just a little ego:  I want to live life at its fullest on my own terms in a way that HaShem will allow . . . before I’m robbed of that choice.

The snow continues to fall . . .

Food?   . . . Check!

Fuel?  . . . Check!

Shelter?   . . . Check!

Emergency supplies?  . . . Check!

Margarita mix and tequila?  . . . Check!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by saara on January 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    margarita mix… lol!

    btw, in RI and MA all of the pumps are ‘broken’ like that — it’s illegal for them to have that piece to keep the pump running.
    dunno about the laws up there 🙂

    Reply

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