Snow in fiction and in real life

Snow in fiction and in real life

I am a native Floridian who never even saw snow until I was sixteen. The closest I would get were the freezes when the fern farmers had to run their sprinklers so the ice would insulate the ferns. The sprinklers and the ferns would be covered in icicles, creating what to me was a magical winter wonderland.

So winter weather was one of the things that captivated me the most when I was an avid young reader. It seemed so exotic and cozy. I wanted to ice skate like Jo and Amy did in Little Women, although naturally I would not be as foolish as Amy and fall through the ice. I longed to taste maple snow candy, like they made in Little House on the Prairie. Once I even convinced my grandmother to carve up some ice in her blender and let me pour Aunt Jemima’s on it. Clearly I was missing all the crucial elements for that recipe!

We’ve lived in Georgia for nearly 20 years now, and we’ve had a few good snows here. I even made a more authentic vision of maple snow candy with my own children a few years back that was much improved from my first attempt. Plus, I’ve traveled to visit my husband’s family in the north during the winter, one time when the snow banks were above my head.

So I can watch videos like this  WCVB Video on Plymouth snow and have a much better sense of what the experience is actually like. That makes me even more impressed that the early settlers were able to struggle through such storms with so few resources. What’s interesting to me is the authors of the Pilgrim and Puritan texts I’m reading seem to downplay the winter storms.

Of all the deprivations and difficulties they emphasize, the weather rarely plays a big role, and I’m not really sure why. Do hardy New Englanders, like the vast majority of these authors were, just not talk about snow all that much? The people in the video here certainly seem to be taking it in stride.

Even though I’m older and wiser now, any time I do encounter a winter scene in one of the Pilgrim or Puritan novels I’m reading, I am still filled with the same sense of childlike wonder and longing.

About Kari Miller

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