I expected to be outside weeding and planting perennials by now, but the ground is too cold and too wet and not good to stomp around on in its current, compactible state. We’ve had some little lost snowfalls – forlorn flakes blowing around with a what-am-I-doing-here look to them.
The snow up in South Dakota got its act together, though, and is putting on a blizzard today. There’s an Indian reservation in the blizzard path where many homes had their power shut off for having overdue bills. I didn’t want to believe this at first – what kind of Simon Legree would turn off someone’s power in a blizzard? Didn’t the Indians pre-pay all their bills by giving up their land, their hunting grounds, and their means of support?
Social media takes a lot of hits for bad behavior, but in this case it helped. When the call went out for people to step up and pay some of these bills, the power company’s line was busy, busy, busy. I couldn’t get through, but enough people did that all the accounts are now current and the power back on. The larger question of how and why people were left unable to pay their bills and what to do about it is still unsolved, but at least no one’s going to freeze to death this time, in this blizzard.
This small-scale solution happened through personal connection – someone who taught at the reservation told her friends, who told their friends. The people shivering in the cold were no longer “them.” They became “us.” Small-scale solutions are often criticized as being a patchwork, but whole big, bed-covering, life-warming quilts are made that way. Patch by patch. Piece by piece.