This past winter has felt a little like the winter of that story to me. While I certainly did not suffer the hardships that the Ingalls family did, the winter did drag on. We had frost last Monday, May 19th. The garden is still a swamp. I have potatoes sprouting all over my kitchen waiting to be planted. It looks like spring will never come.
Dealing with the weather is something every farmer understands well. We watch newscasts, check our weather apps, stare constantly at the sky and feel every nuance of change. Wind takes down trees and knocks down barns. Floods carry crops away. Late frosts put the planting season onto a new schedule, and early frosts destroy a whole season's work in a night. Water lines and buckets are frozen and water has to be hand carried to livestock. And yet, we carry on. We get up in the morning, put things to rights, and get back to work. A winter like this past one can test the endurance of anyone, however. Although we know it will eventually end, it seems interminable.
And then suddenly, the peeper frogs start singing. The call of geese high overhead can be heard, winging their way north. Robins return, with their musical call. At last, a balmy breeze replaces the bitter wind, and spring finally arrives. Just like the train.