Sunday, February 7, 2010

Surviving Snowpocalypse

The end of the world was upon us, and we have been spared.

Today, the sun is shining and the snow is already beginning to melt. Of the many trees huge trees on our property, only one branch (so far) has fallen under the burden of this heavy, wet snow. We even managed to make it through the whole ordeal without losing power. However, coming from a cold weather climate, we failed to realize the significance of this storm. We didn't understand that in addition to stocking our home with enough foodstuffs to last until the spring thaw, we also needed to prepare our souls, lest we be found wanting when the day of reckoning inevitably arrived. Maybe it was naive of us, but we really thought all we needed to get through this storm were a few groceries - ingredients for homemade guacamole, the makings for potato leek soup, and some nice bread and cheese.

I realized my miscalculation as soon as I walked into the grocery store on Thursday night to purchase my paltry provisions. Tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, avocado, chili peppers, bananas, leeks - all gone. At that point, I was surprised, but not overly concerned. Mainly, I was just annoyed that guac and potato leek soup were no longer on the menu. I managed to scavenge a few lonely onions, some underripe apples, and a package of carrots. Then I made my way over to the bread.

I turned the corner, and got my first real sense that something was wrong. There was no bread. None. No sandwich bread, no bagels, no English muffins, no hamburger buns, no hot dog rolls. There was not a crumb of white flour carby goodness to be had. It was at that moment I first felt panic prickle the back of my neck, and realized everyone in that store - and there were many, more than I'd ever seen - was there for the sole purpose of taking food from my family. I might have been slow to catch on, but I now understood. The snow was coming, life as we know it was ending, and only those with enough food stockpiled would survive the state of nature-like conditions sure to follow. It was all I could do to keep myself from ramming my cart into small children as I rushed to the lentil aisle, which seemed to me the most sensible food with which to face the end of the world.

Lentils, beans, chicken broth, canned tomatoes, cornbread mix, macaroni. Eggs, milk, cheese, flour, butter, yeast. I waited in the endless line to check out, congratulating myself on my choices. I could make dozens of meals with these ingredients! It was only after I got home and realized almost all of my foods required cooking and/or refrigeration that I realized the masses had been correct. Bread and peanut butter are what is needed when the power goes out, when you can't cook and your refrigerator doesn't work. I was in possession of exactly one half a loaf of bread. As the snow began to fall Friday morning, I could only hope that would be enough.

Saturday came, and I breathed somewhat easier. We had made it through the night - a night of howling winds and heavy snow. E asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and I stifled my primal urge to tell him that we needed to save our bread. How long could those two slices keep us alive? Once the bread was gone, could we eat dog food? We had just purchased a fresh 16 pound bag on Thursday. E and J made sugar cookie dough - how long could we live off that?

The snow finally stopped at about 5pm on Saturday, and this morning I woke up to the sun shining brightly over an icy, white world. In spite of my smug, substandard preparations, we had survived. I understand now that snow is different here. Snow has the power to end all things. There is only one way to ensure a slight chance of survival.

Buy bread.

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