Friday, August 22, 2014

Part 54


That storm lasted three days and put a not inconsiderable amount of snow on the ground.  But lucky for me that is exactly what I needed.  It let me move the truck ... nearly killed myself driving between two trees ... and I also drained the fuel tank of what little bit of gas that was left and hid it temporarily under the cabin in a concrete lined hole that had some kind of metal sticker on it about electricity.  Could have been meant for a generator maybe; Mr. Svenson never mentioned it and I never asked.

The storm also gave me room to think ... shelter, food, and water were my priorities but first came thinking.  I needed space and the storm kept people away and gave me a chance to plan.  Second I needed time to get organized so I could, as Jace used to call it, implement my plans and I started that by putting all my stuff away.  Found the keys to the large storage locker thrown in one of the desk drawers.  The cabinet itself looked like a giant gun cabinet to me, the kind Dad had always wanted but never had the money or space for.  It was so big I could step inside it and not have to bend over or feel scrunched for space.  I proceeded to put all my food in there.

I organized the food the way Mom used to organize our kitchen cabinets; oldest stuff in front to be used first and then grouped together by category and container size.  There weren't but a couple of shelves in the cabinet so it meant continuing to use the boxes and small plastic organizers that had been in the truck and trailer but that was OK.  In the scheme of things there wasn't a lot of food but looking at it still made me feel rich for a few minutes.

My clothes I folded and put into one of the two footlockers that went with the two bunks.  Not that I was changing my clothes a whole lot, it was too blasted cold.  As gross as it seems to the girl I used to be, getting clean from the skin out on a daily basis - at least during cold weather - is a thing of the past.  Same for getting my hair washed; good thing I've always been partial to braids.  And about the only laundry that I do with any regularity are my socks and underwear.  I've got a small, foldable drying rack that I set up by the fireplace or the franklin depending on which I've got lit and it is there that I hang anything that has gotten damp.  I've also got a boot tree where I upend my boots so they can dry inside.

Its more work to keep my shoes from getting wet than when I was growing up in town.  I'm often walking in snow that comes higher than my boot tops.  That means keeping the boots oiled and waterproofed the best I can as often as needed.  What I'll do when all that stuff is gone I don't know but then again there is a lot of stuff that is going to be gone before I can get more of it so I'd best set my mind to just getting used to it.  Unless I can find the kind of stuff the pioneers used to use.  And that's where the books come in.

The books that I brought and that I've since collected I keep in the floor to ceiling cubby holes next to the bunks.  There aren't a ton of book so there is room for me to keep my personal items like comb, hairbrush, and that sort of thing in one of the cubbies as well.  I put my snow globes there too.  It isn't much of a collection, and sometimes watching the snow is monotonous since I can watch it outside if I want to, but its something that exists outside the same old/same old that is my life most of the time.  Makes me understand why pioneer women made such a production out of any little thing they had that was "store bought" or that came with them in their wagons and schooners to the new land.  Those items were a reminder that something exists or exited for them outside of the simple and hard acts of survival.  They were a reminder of what they were aiming for in their new life ... better.

Every so often I forget that myself.  If someone was to ask me on most days why I do what I do about the only answer I could come up with would be "survival."  On other days, better days, I could say because I'm not a quitter or I know that one day things will get better ... not what they were before but better than they are now.  I've seen a lot of people get to the point where they ask themselves what's the use and then they give up ... and it is at that point that most of them die or might as well be dead.  I came close to that a few times myself, especially a couple of weeks ago but I'm not ready to write about that part yet.  Right now I'm just trying to pick myself up and remember how to feel something besides pain.  Back then I was trying to pick myself up too, just was much less interested in the feeling part.

On the first snow free day after that first storm I was barely able to warm snow to have water with on the twigs I had left.  I'd gone through all of the wood I was able to bring in the first night and even the large branch that I had drug to the porch steps.  As cold as I was I knew I was only going to get colder if I didn't get out and get some more wood; and they needed to be bigger than the wrist sized pieces.

The storm had brought down quite a bit more tree trash so I started with that but then, after figuring out how to padlock the cabin with the lock off of the trailer, I went a little deeper into the trees and found one that was dead and lying lengthways on the ground.  I would chop a limb off then drag it to the cabin and leave it by the porch.  I was on my fourth haul when I came within sight of the cabin and heard chopping.

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