Ah, the title of one of my favorite Laura Ingalls books, which I read several times as a child (and not once since then). These days, I’m left to wonder if the atmospheric patterns that were in place then (winter of 1880-1881 in the Dakota Territory) are the same as those driving (and dreary-fying) the current winter in the Midwest. This pattern is similar to that of three winters ago, when the concept of the polar vortex first graced media reports. Colder this time, but the similarities are frequent snows that simply do not melt much. And constant cloudiness (okay, that’s pretty common here). And the cold, oh the f%#king cold. Oh, how ecstatic I will feel once spring arrives for good!
Another thought: I know that we tend to acclimate to ambient conditions (which is why early-season heat waves tend to be more dangerous and deadly than those later on in the season), but I’m wondering if emotionally we have more trouble at the end (or middle!) of drawn-out abnormal seasons. Continual cold, clouds, and snow tend to wear on me, so that by the time February rolls around I am ready to burst out of my skin, irritable. And it isn’t just the cold. The summer of 2012 was a long, hot, DRY one in the Midwest (devastating for agriculture–I believe it may have been declared an exceptional drought in places, which is the most severe of all categories). Every day it was hot and dry. I didn’t mow my lawn for 2 months. And I felt the same way by the end of July as I do now, only with a temperature/moisture inverse (hot/dry as opposed to cold/wet). Could it be that early heat/cold waves may be more devastating physically but prolonged ones more likely to affect one’s emotions or psyche?