In Great Plains, Pining for Summer in Brutal Cold The brutal winter weather in the Great Plains has caused a lot of misery for many people. Commentator Laura Lorson says that there is an upside to it all: While the current frigid temperatures in the region can make everyone miserable, they can also make the blisteringly hot summers seem appealing.
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In Great Plains, Pining for Summer in Brutal Cold

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In Great Plains, Pining for Summer in Brutal Cold

In Great Plains, Pining for Summer in Brutal Cold

In Great Plains, Pining for Summer in Brutal Cold

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6923826/6923827" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The brutal winter weather in the Great Plains has caused a lot of misery for many people. Commentator Laura Lorson says that there is an upside to it all: While the current frigid temperatures in the region can make everyone miserable, they can also make the blisteringly hot summers seem appealing.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Winter has arrived in force over the last couple of weeks in the Midwest, with ice storms, snow and frigid temperatures. Commentator Laura Lorson says she admires how her neighbors deal with the cold. But she personally hasn't been adapting as well as she could.

LAURA LORSON: Another winter storm is headed for northeast Kansas, and today's forecasts sound like something medieval. Winter storm watch is going to effect Saturday evening - Ford, Dickinson, Douglas, Jefferson, Shawnee, Lyon, Osage and Geary Counties. Expect snow accumulations up to six inches with a chance of power outages, hazardous travel conditions, the return of serfdom and a complete breakdown of social order. You will be sharing a low with Dante's ninth circle of hell tomorrow, so bundle up out there.

While pretty much all the phlegmatic native Midwesterners just shrug and put on another layer or two and see about getting the snow tires on the truck, I have to say as a transplanted Southerner, I don't have it in me. Sure, I tried to be all brave and stoic like the pioneers. I convince myself that I could probably tough it out if I had to. If I got caught out on the prairie in a blizzard, I could sleep in a haystack or walk the 10 miles and ford the river to get to the relative shelter of a tar paper lean to. Except, you know, not.

This past week, even my dog, a big, strapping Great Pyrenees, has been turning into Camille when I open the door for him to go out. No, no, I could not possibly. My paws, my nose, oh, do not make me force to do this, his eyes say. I think he's considering learning to use the toilet. But actually, deep down, I love the prairie winters. I love the Kansas summers most when it's eight degrees outside and my husband left the thermostat sitting on 56, and I can see my breath in the kitchen while I'm trying to make coffee.

I imagine eating fresh sweet corn picked 10 minutes ago and twilight coming to the cottonwoods along the river. And I feel better knowing that everything will eventually change. Knowing what's coming makes whatever season that's currently making you miserable seem bearable. Because our winters make the summer seem lush and soft, and our summers make the winter seem lustrous and glowing.

Right now, we sit in our house that's bundled up against the cold, with the soft hiss of snow against the roof and windows singing us to sleep, where we'll dream about the sound of cicadas, the taste of ripe tomatoes and the broad, bright smiling faces of sunflowers, and wake up knowing that no matter what the weather, we really do live in the best of all possible worlds.

NORRIS: Laura Lorson is certain to complain about the heat come July, at her home in Perry, Kansas.

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