Blizzards on the Prairie
After experiencing a blizzard this weekend in Brookings, SD, I have a whole new respect for The Long Winter. I stepped out in the storm only briefly, but the wind blown snow and ice made a very strong impression. My uncovered face was burning after less than two minutes. While its true that I wasn’t fully protected, the cold cut through my coat and trousers as easily as it lashed my unprotected skin.
It only takes a few seconds to realize that prolonged exposure to this kind of weather would be terminal. People living in places like South Dakota know and respect the power of winter’s fury. When the storm was coming everybody just settled in and waited for it to pass. There was literally nothing else to be done. Its actually sort of relaxing know that you have no rational choice but to stay safe and warm inside. I thought about driving to Sioux Falls in hopes of catching a flight if the weather cleared, but I changed my mind when my host told me stories of vehicles blown over in harsh blizzard winds. Instead I made my way to Wal-Mart, bought some supplies, and waited.
Now and certainly back then people challenge these storms at their own risk. I thought about Pa getting lost in the storm and nearly freezing to death only feet from the house…of Almanzo and Cap Garland pushing their exhausted horses back to De Smet with the wheat before the blizzard could take them down, which it surely would have.
During the night the storm passed leaving crystal clear skies and ice everywhere. While the storm was gone the air was bitterly cold. It was -5 degrees this morning. Before heading for the airport I decided to drive west on Hwy 14 towards De Smet in order to take some pictures. It was just too cold to shoot for long. I returned to Brookings and and shot the Harvey Dunn gallery at the South Dakota Art Museum. The pictures are wonderfully evocative in LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE: THE LEGACY OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER, but they are truly extraordinary in person. I would recommend that anyone making their journey to Laura’s homes include the South Dakota Art Museum in their plans.
I’m sitting at the Minneapolis Airport as I write blog entry…oh the magic of wireless internet service.
Home to Los Angeles by late tonight. The week will begin tomorrow morning with a workout at 6:30 AM.