Saturday, February 12, 2005


Getting work done on Friday was just not possible—we had snow! Thursday afternoon and continuing for several hours, the result was several inches of new fluffy white stuff, the best kind for skiing and playing. I don’t know about the rest of Vermont, but most people in my town took off at least the afternoon to play in the snow. Return e-mails—pah! Paperwork—bah, humbug! Not when the snow is like this.

Snow! We haven’t seen much of it this year. Groundhog Day has come and gone, and we hardly feel as if we have had winter. As much as we moan about it, we all love the snow. You would too if you were here. I hardly dare confess that my first winter here was over all too soon. I had barely gotten used to what to expect when the dandelions were out, and summer hiking was the order of the day.

This is my third winter here. It hasn’t had the early snow of my first—Brooklyn based movers were not amused to work in heavy, wet snow as they moved me into my first Vermont home late on Thanksgiving weekend. They finished after ten at night, then some of them curled into the back of the truck cab, planning to take turns driving back through heavy weather. And there I was. In Vermont. In the winter. I seriously considered the life-threatening aspects of winter before I moved up here, and that first night I wasn’t sure I was ready to cope.

The second winter had lots and lots of snow, and long weeks of subzero, which I tolerate less well than glorious snow. I learned that my car starts at thirty below, but will not start at forty below. I first learned that the dishwasher freezes in subzero temperatures, along with the washer drain. I learned why there are only two tiny windows on the north-facing back of my house, compared to the welcoming window-rich front of my house. The cold north wind was my frequent visitor last winter, but not so frequent as this year, with little snow to insulate my floorboards.

Snow! The boys and I went out for a romp today. I was wearing snowshoes, and I have been told that it is okay to walk across the fields across the road from my house. In Vermont, apparently, neighbors still expect that neighbors will walk across their fields, that dogs from neighboring houses will meet in the middle for romps. I’m still so new as to be respectful of boundary lines, but my neighbor Tim—who sold me his family home—tells me it is okay to walk out back of his family’s old barn, across the fields and into the woods. So today we went out.

Forty-five minutes, and I am tired. Deep snow, yes, and I could be in better shape, but I put my weariness down to the effort of walking with a large German Shepherd trying to stand on the backs of my snowshoes. You try it!

We’ll be back out tomorrow. So what if I am constitutionally unsuited for skiing or other sliding sports, my formative years in the Deep South having left me unprepared for winter here. Snowshoes are a blast, and who can miss this snow!

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