Cold Comfort

February 13, 2012 by Ellen Stimson in Uncategorized

A determined cold has come and settled itself around the mountains. Eleven was our high today. We had bright crisp sunshine and shiny blue cloudless skies. This is making for some staggeringly gorgeous night skies. The stars are so bright it looks like maybe they are kidding. It is sort of a relief since we have had practically no snow and mild weather for months. I didn’t move to Vermont to watch kids skateboard in January. Usually by now I am gritting my teeth and bearing down over some ice storm or another foot of snow. This year I miss it with a surprising intensity. We had winter back in St Louis where we lived our old lives. But those winters were mostly drab and brown and gray. We wanted winter that looked like winter surrounded by mountains and snow and full bird feeders. Winter turns out to be one of the reasons we love living here. We know all about thermal clothes, and layers and balm and gear. A reliably white Christmas in the woods feeds my soul. We actually like filling our trunks with blankets and flashlights and telling each other which route we would take on the mountain roads where cell service is spotty and a short drive at night on curvy snowy mountain roads can be an adventure.
Winter is satisfying. We didn’t move to a land of endless summer because summer is worth yearning for. In Vermont we expect enormous snowdrifts. We plan on being able to see our breath. We have big fat woodpiles and we expect to burn them and have cheery little fires and big blazing ones during the season of the Noreasters’. Winter is when we plan and think so the life that unfolds in the sun first sprouted in the long dark frozen months that came before. Cold weather is fortifying. It keeps us on our toes. It makes our brains snappy unlike the languid mint julep minds of our southern cousins. Winter: enjoying it, surviving it, even enduring it, is satisfying. It makes us smug.
So finally this deep slow cold has come and after longing for it for so long I feel a little worried. I spent most of November December and January longing for winter. But now is the time our thoughts begin to wander toward spring. I planted some crocuses in a copper bowl and they are blooming on top of my Gram’s old trunk. I didn’t get winter and now by golly I want spring.
But not yet. First this cold will turn us inward for a little while longer anyway. It is almost Valentine’s Day and John and I are thinking of how we want to love each other this year. We have decided we will take up some music. I am aiming for the stand-up bass and he is leaning toward a trumpet. We will take lessons and giggle and make a new kind of music this year. I have always believed that not knowing what passion is waiting around the next corner is one for the reasons to live. Maybe this will be another one. We just needed a little powerful cold to get us thinking.


  • Molls

    Good to see you pop up Mrs P.
    Bass huh?
    I can't wait to hear how this story turns out

  • beesknees

    It's snowing in Toronto!

  • Ngo Family Farm

    I love your thoughts on winter! They ring so true for me, too 🙂 Spring will be all the sweeter for us both now.

  • Jamie

    “Summer is worth yearning for…” Love that. So true.

    If you're back, I'll try my damnedest to be back, too. There's probably going to be plenty to write about this year. xo

  • Library Lady

    We're getting the snow I knew was going to hit St. Louis because it was in the 60s back in January and my jonquils are at least 6 inches high. I knew it would snow enough to get our attention. Invite me to your first recital–I'll bring my stepped-on guitar and play with you!

  • ~Kathi

    Howdy “e”: So nice of you to leave a note on my blog! Way out West here, the foot of snow did not materialize, but it is cold and gloomy so far this Valentine's. This summered-in-Hawaii teen (now 63) must beg to differ: I'd be happy if I only saw snow on an Xmas card ever again. Thirty plus years shoveling and getting precarious 4-wheel drives to work was sufficiente for me.

    But hubby took up the violin/fiddle after a 45-yr hiatus, and now is two years into being in two bands, his fav. being a Western swing band run by his 80-yr old award-winning female teacher. Good luck on your new musical adventures! We certainly do have in common living in the countryside, albeit very much in the mountains here. Cheers!

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