On such a day I recall the great snow-storms on the northern New England hills, which lasted for a week with no cessation, with no sunrise or sunset, and no observation at noon; and the sky all the while dark with the driving snow, and the whole world full of the noise of the rioting Boreal forces; until the roads were obliterated, the fences covered, and the snow was piled solidly above the first-story windows of the farmhouse on one side, and drifted before the front door so high that egress could only be had by tunneling the bank.
After such a battle and siege, when the wind fell and the sun struggled out again, the pallid world lay subdued and tranquil, and the scattered dwellings were not unlike wrecks stranded by the tempest and half buried in sand. But when the blue sky again bent over all, the wide expanse of snow sparkled like diamond-fields, and the chimney signal-smokes could be seen, how beautiful was the picture! Then began the stir abroad, and the efforts to open up communication through roads, or fields, or wherever paths could be broken, and the ways to the meeting-house first of all. Then from every house and hamlet the men turned out with shovels, with the patient, lumbering oxen yoked to the sleds, to break the roads, driving into the deepest drifts, shoveling and shouting as if the severe labor were a holiday frolic, the courage and the hilarity rising with the difficulties encountered; and relief parties, meeting at length in the midst of the wide white desolation, hailed each other as chance explorers in new lands, and made the