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Dealing with the challenges of winter

Funny how whatever else outside our own lives may be worrying all of us, from the ramifications of the president’s tweets, to the publishing of a new book with many interviews discussing his incompetence and instability, to the financial problems of our state government and on and on, when our cars won’t start or our pipes freeze due to brutally cold temperatures, everything else is relegated to the back burner. Thankfully, by the time you’re reading this, the temperatures were predicted to have come up, even to the point of possibly being designated as the sought-after January thaw. But for the two weeks previous, the very low temperatures, with a typical seasonal  snowstorm thrown into the mix, wreaked havoc on our lives and our ability to function as we normally do.

We can be grateful to the weather for finally giving us a break during this New England January, but we should also direct our gratitude to those who attended to the emergencies that resulted from the two-week-long cold snap. They came out in the worst of conditions to help get us through: plumbers, heating providers, EMTs and other health-care professionals, grocery store staff, auto mechanics, police, firefighters, those who get out the plows and shovels to remove snow, utility workers and more are all deserving of our thanks. 

 Every year, we may believe we are as prepared as we need to be to combat the problems associated with the challenges of winter weather. But then, suddenly, there can be unwelcome surprises when we least expect them, in the form of a car battery that wasn’t as charged as we thought it was, or pipes that could withstand anything, and maybe had for years, until the thermometer reached into below-zero territory for a bit too long. 

Besides attending to our own emergencies, though, it is important to remember elderly or otherwise vulnerable neighbors during this time when the intense winter weather is finally upon us. Let’s remember to keep in touch with them and offer help whenever we can. Even those who are accustomed to dealing with winter in New England can have a bad year when they may need help as never before. 

But one thing about this area is that so many really are aware of the needs of others, and regularly step up to offer help and support to those who may need it. It’s also important for those who are struggling with any issues during the winter months to ask others for help. That can be hard for proud people who perhaps have never needed such support before.

Winter, of course, also offers the opportunity for some great outdoor activity, when the temperatures are just temperate enough to allow us to get outside, and for those who downhill or cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike, ice fish, ice skate, ski jump and more, it’s a time like no other. But it’s also important to be aware of those who live nearby and are challenged by the dangers of winter and to help them when we can.

Thanks to all those who give that help and support, and kudos to those who ask for it and accept it when it’s needed. 

Here’s to a better, more manageable, winter ahead.