Tell Your Story

March 9, 2011 by Ellen Stimson in Wintertime

I am a storyteller. In theory I own a development agency and we raise money for worthy charities and non-profits. That’s the view from outside. But the real thing we do is to help these organizations tell their stories better and to a bigger audience.
I may do it for money but I still think that pretty much everyone is a storyteller. Our stories are our voices and they give color and definition to our histories and they outline, plan and shape our futures. A good story can and has gotten me through practically everything. Stories are the sparkles of our imagination and the warp and weft of our subconscious.
I sure hear a lot of bad ones though.

We had another big storm up here this week. This one was kind of a surprise. We had been in the middle of the big melt. The temperatures had been soaring up into the fifties and ice was sliding off the roof. The giant snowbanks were getting smaller every day. We could see grass down in the meadow. And I thought I could smell spring. Now we knew we were supposed to get a little snow and maybe some freezing rain, but that was all that had been predicted. It’s only the beginning of March so this was not a big surprise. What actually happened was a classic nor’easter complete with very high winds, sleet, ice, and snow. The snow fell fast and hard and blew and swirled in the wind and enveloped all of us once again right smack dab back into winter. The ice rained down and at one point the road and driveway were too slippery to even stand still on.

All these cold temperatures combined with the high cost of fuel have been especially hard for New England. It has been the wintriest winter I have ever known. And now oil is about four bucks a gallon which means lots of people go to school and work to warm up. It has been tough. Then this latest ice storm caused power outages everywhere.

But it did more than that. It also coated all the trees everywhere. Every branch all up and down the mountains looks like icicles. I have never seen anything like it. Since the temps stayed cool at around 22* most of the afternoon none of it melted either. The woods feel like a crystal palace. It is one of the most beautiful things everybody says they have ever seen. You want to go out and walk in it except the ground is unreliably slippery even back in the woods. But still. This is not something you can miss. I mean Vermont is the Green Mountain State so named for all those gazillion green trees and they are all covered head to tippy toe in ice. You simply cannot miss them if you are looking anywhere outside. It is sort of like the Fourth of July and Christmas all rolled up into one. We had googobs of sunshine today too so the whole world actually glowed this afternoon. It is shiny and sparkly and wintry and almost holy. Even though your house is chilly because you are trying to save on oil, and even though your driveway is either like an ice rink or coated in a filthy layer of ugly sand, even though—even though. There is more than one story happening here.

There is a wondrous grace to this last pause before the melting, muddy, slippery mess that will herald spring. We get to take one more slow breath and be reminded that all this beauty has a cost. Living up here has a cost and we all gladly pay it in exchange for the sweet gentle rhythms of this life in this beautiful place. Life is old here and the lessons of that long history are profound. Slow down.
Take whatever gifts the world brings you. Give thanks. Build a fire and watch the show outside your window. Maybe make up a batch of cupcakes. Cheap thrills.
And then tell that story with the happy ending. There almost always is one if you know where to look.


  • Kate

    Those days when the trees are glittering with ice are my favorites. I don't know why. It's almost like they are frozen into silence. Finally. No whistling and rustling of branches. They lose their voices, but their beauty speaks alone.

  • Casdok

    Wow what fantastic icicles.

    And what a fantastic job you do 🙂

  • Library Lady

    We have had a lionesque beginning to March which rouses a lot of hope for flocks of lambs by the end of the month. More than snow and ice (although we're getting that too) we are having tornadoes. And rather than following the north county routes, the winds have been coming out here in west county. So far the worst damage we have had has been a few non-dramatic limbs on our deck. The cats hate me for not letting them out all the time, but when I do, it doesn't take them long to realize that the wind literally blows their fur the wrong way!

  • Lemon Gloria

    Storytellers are my favorite. Not everyone is interested in doing so, and not everyone does it well, but the people who do fascinate me.

    That tree looks like a gathering of wizards with big long beards. Beautiful and magical.

  • starrlife

    Up your way, about 11 years ago there was a huge ice storm with those kinds of icicles x2… there's a story. I remember driving up in the spring through the passes of the Green Mtns and all of the trees were bent over like grieving widows, power lines were down for weeks and some of the evergreens were broken. It took many years for the landscape to recover!
    They are beautiful but scary to me.
    I love your stories- glad to see you back.

  • Jamie

    I just read this post for the first time, and I have to tell you, I love it. Story telling, all of it, really.

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