January 15, 2009 by Ellen Stimson in Living With Intention

It’s minus 7 this morning in my part of Vermont. I know because I checked first thing this morning when I got up. I am not even there, but some of my people are and I wondered what they were waking up to this morning so I checked.

I am in NYC which thinks it is having a bitter cold spell. Thar’s what they’re calling it on the radio. I think it’s in the twenties. I will allow that all this city wind in your face makes it feel pretty blustery, but it is hardly bitter.

Here folks are back at work after the holidays. The restaurants are only about half full and the hotels are affordable again and pretty empty. The traffic is the same though. A loud wash of music comes up behind you on Broadway from 18th and then stalls next to you or just in front before weaving in and out and pushing it’s taillights into the long crowded stream of them that run all the way to the Hudson River, or New Jersey depending on which way you are going. In a minute or two you will hear it’s blaring sounds up on the next block. Sometimes a firetruck whoops it’s way past and people sort of scooch over a little bit as it makes it’s own narrow lane down the middle. I always think God help anyone whose house is really on fire. It will burn long before the light changes.

The sidewalks were crowded when we went looking for good cheap Indian last night. We found a spicy little restaurant just blocks from the hotel filled with regular Indian people which is always a good sign. The food was fantastic. Lots of heat and cardamom. The scallops sitting on top of some hot colorful stuff were amazing and so was the chicken curry with the cauliflower turned orange by the hot sweet stuff it was cooked in. I miss the real ethnic food in the city possibly most of all. And so every time we get a chance we grab bunches of it. Hannah and I rounded out the evening at the Angellika. It is an old classic theater in Soho with high lavishly painted ceilings dripping with old chandeliers and real desserts at the counter. We kept the Indian theme and saw Slumdog Millionaire which is just as good as everyone says.

This morning there are horns and wind, and we will run around and have lunch with friends. I used to thrive on this. I needed the hurry and the stuff. I was charged by the high octane energy here, the people making deals and running the world, all of them always rushing as if the whole thing would stop spinning if they weren’t really careful. But now all I can think about is the very different kind of energy back home. It is slower. It paces itself. But it is steady and constant. It’s strength is fed by wind and snow, cheerful fires and the simple beauty of a mountain morning. I can’t wait to get home. I want to warm up to its glow. Because that’s what it is now. Vermont is no longer the experiment where we moved to see if we could find the natural world and live closer to it.

Vermont is home. Minus 7, sure. I’ll be there by dark…..


  • library lady

    It’s 1 above zero in actual temperature here, but the windchill is 17 below. We are all feeling hungry and it’s only 9:19 AM. We have been searching for a Chinese restaurant nearby that delivers. But evidently people in Ladue don’t get carry out food. I suppose they send their butlers out.

  • painted maypole

    there is beauty and energy in both, surely. you captured this perfectly

  • laurwilk

    I always think the same exact thing every time I hear a siren. (I hear one now, actually – speeding down 23rd St.) The fire trucks seem to move so slowly in the city and it always surprises me.

    I think we have both been fortunate to experience the energy of the city as well as the country. Today I’m not sure which one I prefer. It seems to change always.

  • TheCynicalOptimist

    Ohhh, sounds like a good time! Would love to see that movie!

    It ws minus 20 here this morning. COldest day I can ever remember. Apparently in 1884 we had a day colder so I guess it’s not a record… bummer.

  • starrlife

    I miss the beaches and the food(ethnic, bagels, pizza, late night open restaurants)from Long Island. Not a single other thing.

  • natalie

    I am freezing my hoohah off and it is about 14 here. I cannot stand to think of minus anything

  • Maddie

    Will you ever want to live in t he city again do you think?

  • Katiedid

    I loved Slumdog. It is hard to explain and really get people to understand what to expect.
    God it was wonderful

  • Jamie

    I love exploring the energy of new places. It varies so much. The energy of Iowa, today, though, is very freakin’ cold. It was -8 this morning, down to -20 in the middle of the night, and the high yesterday was -5. Yuck. Please warm up. Please.

    Hope you’re enjoying being home and that it’s not as much of a tundra there as it is here.

  • Trannyhead


    I am so lusting after that Indian food. Being stuck down here in Granilla’s house has given me newfound appreciation for all things not bland. Poor Granilla eats a turkey sandwich every single day for lunch and honestly, if I ever see a turkey sandwich again it’ll be too soon.

  • Kate

    That’s why I visit New York once a year. To remind me that my life in SD is just exactly what I want it to be. Quiet and unassuming – ordered by the weather. Which for yesterday means -36, bundling up and going from work to home with no stops in between, cuddling up in wool and making soup.

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