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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Sideways Snow and Icicles Leanin' in the Wind
By Genia Gilbert


I stood on the tiny front porch, trying to take a photo of the 7-inch icicles. Either my equilibrium was failing completely or . . . yes, it was true.

Stalking angrily to the phone, I dialed my newest and dearest friend.

“Anna, do you realize that the icicles are not straight down, but freezing at an angle of maybe twenty degrees to the southeast?”

She chuckled, knowing my frustrations with all the changes in my life, many of them related to the weather. A born and bred southerner has a difficult adjustment on the plains of Midwestern Kansas.

“Jena, that’s pretty common for us. It has to do with the strong and constant wind from these fronts that move through.”

There is was again. That relentless, continual, maddening wind, wreaking still more havoc with the way things were supposed to be.

“Okay,” I said, “This is ridiculous. Since we moved here, I have dealt with horizontal rains all through the spring; then dust and oven-hot air blowing straight in my face through the summer. I’ve even watched the leaves (what few there are) flying past the windows in autumn on a definite level track, north to south. Since winter came, I have been caught in the sideways snow pellets that stung my cheeks and frosted my glasses right on my nose. But this is too much. There are crooked icicles stretched across the front edge of the roof, and it seems like they are pointing at me and laughing.”

Anna, by this time, was giggling uncontrollably . Well, that was just great for her. Being a lifetime resident of the plains, and unbearably cheerful by nature, she didn’t even see the problem. I wondered sometimes if she had permanent wind damage, and couldn’t hear or comprehend things well.

“Oh, Jena, take it easy,” she teased. “ This too will pass. Right now, I have to go help David get some calves in out of the weather, then move the farm trucks under sheds, so we can get them going faster in the morning. When the roads clear up, I’ll come get you and we’ll go shopping and have lunch.”

Glumly, I hung up the phone. It was the proverbial last straw. Already terribly homesick, I was trying desperately to support my husband Ted. He’d been transferred here by his company, with little consideration of his preference, and was struggling with all the newness of places and people. Added to that, he worked long hours, especially in bad weather, getting the produce trucks in and out to supply all the stores.

We had now been through three seasons and were well into our first winter in Kansas, over thirteen hours from “home” and family. Christmas was coming; Ted was working most of the time, and here I was, stuck inside for days on end, with nothing to do but stare out at the strange slanted tapers of ice, mocking me.

“Okay, Jena, get a grip,” I told myself firmly. Then I sat down in my cozy little prayer time corner, and took a deep breath. The Lord had certainly been good to us through all this. He’d placed us in a pleasant small town with people who were friendly and helpful. He had shown us to a great church where the spiritual bond was spontaneous and surprisingly strong.

Recalling this, I also thought of Anna and hundreds like her who took all things in stride, even the wind and weather, and went about the business of life with hard work and positive attitudes. They were at peace with their God and their surroundings.

Somehow the ice, now mixed with heavy snow, seemed much more bearable, even quite pretty, in a glazed kind of way. After thanking God for fresh hope and joy, I ventured out again, snapping those pictures. Our kids would delight in seeing and hearing about them.

Later in the week, when Anna drove up, announcing that it was time for our shopping trip, I was in a much better frame of mind.

“Dress in layers,” she instructed.

“But I am, and the temperature is up quite a lot today,” I objected.

“Yes, but remember. . . .”

“. . . The wind chill,” I finished. With an exaggerated sigh, I reached for another sweater and grinned.”

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This article has been read 626 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke08/20/09
Nice. Good tempo and great descriptions.
Valarie Sullivan08/21/09
Yes, good flow! Watch out for stray quotation marks, there is one at the very end.
I can relate to the frustrations of moving and making new friends and adjusting to 'strange' climate changes. Good job depicting that!
Charla Diehl 08/21/09
Funny how an attitude adjustment can help us see things in a more positive light. That's the message I gathered from this story. Good job.