the morning of february 4th was cold, very cold, about 12 degrees F, cold enough to postpone the re-enactment of the nauvoo exodus from 8:00 (when we showed up) to 9:30 in hopes that it would be a little warmer.
a little warmer......
that is a great idea....if only the early saints could have postponed their exodus..... it didn't feel right to me to be able to postpone ours.
in spite of our late start, it was a day we will remember. we began by enjoying hot chocolate and tasty treats the the family living center, then headed out into the elements. we had three small children (7 years, 4 years, & 20 months) bundled with layers and layers of long johns, jackets, and coats. and we were all cold. very cold. when it was all over, 1 1/2 hours later, we got into our car, equipped with heater, drove home in warmth, relaxed in our (warm) home, ate yummy (warm) food, and i even crawled into my cozy (warm) bed and fell asleep for 3 hours! (whew! that 1 1/2 hours in a cold wagon was exhausting!)
in contrast, our forebears left with children bundled against the cold, but no high tech coat or glove insulation, no cars with heaters, no yummy food or easy way of heating it up, no warm cozy beds, no way to escape the elements, no hope for warmth at all until spring/summer, and no hope for warm homes and cozy beds until they reached their destination and built them. something like 17 women gave birth on the banks of the mississippi that first night. the temperatures dropped to 30 below within the week. incredible. unbelievable. i can't even begin to imagine giving birth in that kind of cold, and trying to keep the baby warm. it makes me want to cry. and i did shed tears as i tried to keep gracie (who didn't want to keep her mittens on, but then cried & cried because her hands were so cold) warm, and i tried to imagine knowing that we wouldn't be warm again for months. it is not a wonder that so many died. it is rather a miracle that so many lived. i asked mia & noah (when they were complaining about the cold) how they would feel if they couldn't go home and get warm. mia said with her typical bluntness, "i would want to die." and i agreed. honestly. at the time, we were very near the memorial buit for those who died crossing the plains. it was a very poignant experience, and reminds me of this poignant experience, which i relived on a jog yesterday morning.
the temple looking down on horses & wagons waiting to depart
wagons ready to roll
re-enactors passing the seveties hall on parley street (the trail of tears/hope)
oxen watching the wagons pass, near the seventies hall
at the frozen mississippi
hyrum (a friend), mia, and gracie waiting to begin. they are wearing cards (you can see hyrum's) that say "remember, oh remember" and have names and information representing people who left nauvoo on the first day of the exodus.
this is what the ground looked like where there wasn't pavement....corn husks frozen into the mud. bleak & unfriendly.