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Wintertime

December 22, 2007 by Ellen Stimson in Snow, Vermont. New England, Winter


This has been the best December ever. We have a couple of feet of snow, and drifts of four or five. The nighttime mountains are big fat cartoon outlines against all this snow. We have been getting little flurries many mornings in a row and the whole place sparkles like an enchanted forest.

The snow pants, hats, and mittens are all piled on the radiators, and the mudoom is filled with boots, ours and our friends. We have extra pairs of everything, so when visitors come unprepared they can join in an evening of impromptu sledding. Moonlight sledding keeps us all from getting bored when the sun goes down at 4 in the afternoon, and we go to sleep tired and happy.

There are no street lights, or even highway lights in general, here in Vermont. Newcomers tend to fret about that at first. We did. But soon pretty soon everybody gives way to the pleasures of the night sky and the wildlife freely roaming under the cover of the night. Tonight we watched the deer jumping through big open fields of snow. Watching their silhouettes on that expanse of white brought to mind flying reindeer. They ran so fast and stepped so high they fairly flew. And this afternoon we all converged to watch the owl Eli had seen in our snowy meadow. The animals are less hidden, more vulnerable, in this sparkly world where the branches are only sharp outlines in a white world. Their obvious presence reminds us to fill the feeders, and makes us feel lucky and blessed to share their space.

When the moon is full and the ground is covered with snow, there is enough natural light outside to see the color and pattern of the mittens on the kids. During hard snows we have fog drifting along with the flakes, and on those nights the darkness seems to amplify the distance between us and the rest of the world. It is peaceful and beautiful. There are fewer places that make us want to leave here anymore,not even for a while.

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