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.