Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scent of a skunk

It’s been warm the last few days, warm for this time of year in Vermont, that is. Warm enough for long walks with the dogs. Warm enough that the snowpack compacts and makes for easy snowshoeing. Warm enough that our frozen landscape shifts a bit before settling in for the long haul toward spring.

Last night as I sat snoozing in my chair next to a front window, there was a huge whomp! as the roof shed its load of snow. I couldn’t see anything in the dark, but this morning, piles of snow and mangled icicles lay sprawled in new ice berms along the front and back of the house. One always hopes that these avalanches occur at times when there are no dogs or people in their paths.

Today it is warm enough to dry to dig a path through the back berm in anticipation of more snow still to come. It is warm enough to empty the in-house compost bins. And it is warm enough that someone had an encounter with a wandering skunk. Every time I go back out to chip away at the path through the ice berm, the aroma hits me in the face again. I don’t really mind. It is another sign of (false) spring. But I think my dogs will stay penned up until the enticing scent dissipates.

As much as this may feel (and smell) like spring, we must guard against false hope. After all, it is only January 17. No, this is a January thaw, a weather “singularity” that returns almost every year.

As Willem Lange would say, I gotta get back to work. After all, this balmy weather won’t last for long, and I need to be prepared for the next snowfall.

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