My neighborhood is not unusual across the state of Vermont, but then again, there is little that is usual about Vermont. Prospering family farms, plenty of open sky, clean running water and sweet crisp air… idyllic. Here most people get out and about, take advantage of all that Vermont offers, every month of the year and March is no exception. There is still snow around to ski or ride or play in. Ice covers our lakes and ponds allowing ice fishing. And, on a lucky days, there is the brilliant blue that pauses you to look up and smile, content that you are exactly where you are…
One of my favorite aspects of Winter is the ease of catching the sunrise, which granted is always breathtaking no matter the landscape, but here the whole mountain range gets mixed in a pastel palette while a brilliant golden hue shoots over the ridge and causes a pause. All that beauty just beyond the window help all the early morning rituals breeze by!
Mountains in Vermont mean ski country, creating a new landscape defined by the intersection of trails that transverse nature’s contours. The ski area closest to my home is Smugglers’ Notch and many of the trails follow that theme: Poachers’s Woods, Bootlegger, and Rumrunner, but my favorite trail is Drifter because of the broad valley vistas one comes upon when gliding down.
Just about every old road in Vermont is lined by an even older stone wall. This is true all over the state, and in my neighborhood too. On one side of this drive is a stone wall that is broken down, stones scattered here and there, but on the other, someone has taken the care to mend it, so each stone keeps its place. If you haven’t read Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, I would recommend you take a detour and do so ASAP! After all, who writes of our New England neighborhoods better than such a master as Frost?
Just beyond this lovely, and cared for drive, is an even older road, which is now only used for walking or possibly an adventurous equestrian, for it often has a stream running through it. Frost comes to mind here too…perhaps his famed poem Snowy Woods? For yes, “the woods are lovely, dark and deep.”
Every day out my window is different. Nighttime animals run across our field into our woods, and in the daylight it is quite a challenge to decipher the tracks! The nearby stream changes too as the temperature fluctuates, one week it thaws and the next it freezes over. I too shrink or grow as my own shadow moves along…
I often remark, somewhat unhappily, that winter is black and white and gray… but taking a real look around I see the amber in last year’s Beech leaves, in the tassel of these feathery delights, and in the rolled hay bales… the rich green in the evergreens also provide color! When the whole of the northern world seems devoid of any life, these muted shades are welcome to my eye.
At day’s end, comes the final hurrah, the sunset sweeping across the spiny ridge in shades of pink and purple. Observing this moment, there is nothing to feel but gratitude for all the winter beauty cascading around us, encouraging us to continue on with hope and promise for whatever lies ahead. Yes, especially for the life lingering in this neighborhood!