A Year of Morning Thanks
Just Plain Shelter
I know there was a fire in the middle. I know there were buffalo hides piled up everywhere. I know a half dozen or more warm bodies in the teepee must have helped some too. But I don't know, honestly, how the Lakota ever lived out here on the Plains in the deathly cold we're in right now, mid-January.
Yesterday, I think the high was 3. I don't really want to know the low, although I believe on Friday night the wind chill was somewhere in the neighborhood of -26. "Minus 20 keeps out the riff-raff," some people like to say. In July, it's a funny line.
Just on the other side of the north wall of this basement office sits a relatively new furnace--maybe five years old. It's working overtime these days, running up a bill that ought to make the Saudis happy.
But outside the cold is a killer, literally. People die in this weather. Run in the ditch somewhere and you don't wake up again. The cold is brutal.
So this morning, my thanks are profoundly elemental. I'm thankful for shelter, for a warm old house, a purring furnace, a cozy family room, where tonight I can watch the Green Bay Packers take on the New York Giants on Lambeau Field, where the temp, weathermen say, will be somewhere close to zero.
Life could be so much worse.