A winter storm is headed this way. I just received word that school is dismissing early, and I confess to being as eager as the children. I’ll stop and pick up an extra bag of flour before bringing the brood safely home for a long weekend.
There are all sorts of good reasons why a heavy snowfall is troublesome, but on our farm I long for these days. Winters here are long, dark, and very cold; but they are a much-needed respite from a fruitful growing season. During crop season the work days are longer than long, and that has its own joys and challenges. But for now the garden is just a sketch, the hayfields just a page corner turned down in the seed catalog. The earth is resting, and so are we.
This naturally creates much more time together. Inside for a change because of the bitter cold, winter is when we snuggle and play games and read. I actually have more picture books for winter than all the other seasons put together. Why? Because nature has a rhythm, and winter is when we cozy up and read.
You could build a snow fort out of all Jan Brett’s delightful wintry tales. Such folk stories were probably first told on nights like these. The children love the photography in the pages of Stranger in the Woods, and also the smudgy paintings in Astrid Lindgren’s stories about The Tomten. James Herriot’s anecdotes from years of caring for animals in all weathers will make you reach for a blanket, and I think the snowy season is also the perfect time to (re-)enter Narnia.
Kim Lewis also has a grand bunch of her pastoral stories taking place on sheep farms in snowy Yorkshire. I love Jerry Pinkney’s gorgeously snug illustrations for A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. If you’re still not convinced that winter is wonderful, the My First Little House series has several charming stories proving that the best time to cuddle up and pour maple syrup on something is right now.
So with a heap of books like this and 55 cows out back making milk for cocoa, I am perfectly happy to have no place to go. Let it snow!