Winter was fast approaching and the year’s first snow came early; and I was concerned about the house's lack of insulation. "If they could live here all those years, then so can we!" my husband confidently declared.
One November night, the temperature plunged to below zero; and we woke up to find interior walls covered with frost. My husband called the sisters to ask how they had kept the house warm. After a rather brief conversation, he hung up.
"For the past 30 years," he muttered, "they've gone to Florida for the winter!"*
Heading south for the winter may have served those two old sisters well for those thirty years; but it would not have done much for them here in the winter of 2014! You may have seen the picture below already. It has recently made its rounds on the web. But, as the picture clearly indicates, it was Old Man Winter himself who went to Florida this year!
We have had one of the coldest winters in recent memory. It has repeatedly gotten down into single digit temperatures for several days now. And yet, when I was a boy, I remember my father and grandfather, both farmers, rejoicing to see cold weather. Their reasoning was that, without some very cold weather, the insects could be expected to abound the following spring and summer.
I have since checked this out and discovered that it was indeed true - but only for certain bug species and not for others. Nonetheless, it appears that nature in general does benefit by cold weather. The Weather Channel’s web page contains an article titled Deep Freeze's Silver Lining: Nature's Benefits.**
According to this article, apparently the Great Lakes are refilling, tree killing insects such as the emerald ash borer are dying off, and even our citrus fruit will have a sweeter taste - all as a result of cold weather.
But what is the greatest benefit of all? Extreme cold also reins in invasive nuisance plants – among them, the insufferable Kudzu! So, on behalf of Southerners everywhere, “Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow!”
And above all, along with the Apostle Paul, let us all remember to give thanks in everything (I Thessalonians 5:18), even cold weather; for we never fully know what all God is up to, even when we are freezing!
*JOKE SOURCE: http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/
**ARTICLE SOURCE: http://www.weather.com/news/science/nat
NOTE: In this year of polar vortexes, we may not have seen anything yet. Apparently, as they say, the worst is yet to come: http://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2014/01/february-4-6-po
tentially-significant.html. (Hey, they got it right about this one: http://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2014/01/january-28-30-