Blizzard by Cindy Rinaman Marsch.
A Story of Dakota Territory, triggered my thoughts about the hardships of the early settlers, both in The United States and in Australia. The European settlers resistance to respecting and learning survival skills from he original people of those areas, cont them dearly. Sadly, the original owners and herd grazers of these lands suffered more.
I was hooked into The Blizzard by Cindy Rinaman Marsch from the start.
I’ve been caught out while walking on a lovely winter day, never expecting snow and a strong wind to strike without warning. I experienced apprehension about how we could get back to shelter, yet having to push on, as to stop would be to freeze. What we experience, thankfully, was nothing compared to what Cindy Rinaman Marsch describes in her story.
I do not have the temperament to have settled on the prairies.
Not with the prospect of blizzards like that: I’d have kept going until I got to Californiaas soon an spring thaw arrived.
Personal memories and comparisons are one way that I evaluate a book.
When a book gets me thinking, or when it jogs near forgotten memories of when I experienced a similar danger, connect we as a reader into a book.
In this short story,
The Blizzard, Cindy Rinaman Marsch totally conveyed the courage of the homesteaders, and the interior of the shanty with its merge supplies, consistent with that era of pioneer life.
I felt a sadness thinking of those displaced by early settlers.
Few of those settlers ever bothered to try to learn the wisdom of land management or weather extremes survival used for thousands of years by the traditional land owners. The First people, this displaced by European settlement, would have known to cover all of their skin with earth mixed in seal (or similar) oil, a substance that would not freeze, before putting on animal skins that would not retain water, but did contain oils that resisted freezing.
If only these settlers had learned to live in harmony, learned to live with nature and the original people of the area.
Others might read this and only read what is in the words, the story of that terrible blizzard. My mind went on a trip outside of the story, as I read, I could not help but think of how the suffering of these new settlers was nothing compared to the suffering of those they displaced. I thought of all the dead buffalo that once roamed the area, piled dead it a trophy pile, when their skins would have made warm leggings—in place of silly impractical petticoats.
Are we any smarter today?
Ladies might wear more practical everyday garments, but if we were to take away everyone’s air conditioners electricity and the snow plough, would people on the prairies have the knowledge known by the First Nation People of Dakota territory to better survive a blizzard such as this today?
Any book that can get my mind so engaged in the story that I’m still pondering the ‘what ifs’ a day later, is a well written and enthralling.
Ryn Shell writes stories of crime, love and Australia.
artist and author
Formerly Kathy Shell of Buninyong Gallery.
The splendour of nature and the Australian bush captured in work of acclaimed artist Ryn (Kathy) Shell.
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