My school district is infamous for never calling a snow day. Perhaps there is some logical reason we never have one even when in every direction other schools have cancelled, but I’m not privy to any reason beyond yankee pride. Thankfully, students and teachers alike miraculously make it despite the scary road conditions or the below freezing temps. But yesterday school was called, and it felt like a gift for sure. No rising in the dark, no trying to figure out how to maneuver out of the snowdrifts before our plow guy does his job, no slippery slide hoping to stay on the road, just me in my pj’s for hours sipping tea and watching the white stuff fall fast and heavy. Been living in a snow globe for months on end but today felt like a peek into a wondrous winter wonderland.
These last weeks I have kept close to home, venturing to work and back with little else filling my days or nights. Mostly because I have been battling one of those winter colds, (and finally winning) but also because the roads have been icy, and getting back to our cozy world seems smart and safe and more important than anything. On this schedule I have gotten home while it’s still light, so a slow meandering stroll to take in the forest and field is a must do.
Not sure why specifically but I guess it’s the whole stinking pot of shit news that’s got me remembering icons. The great ones, who touch down for short snippets of time to do good for the planet. You know the type, those who cure, not infect. Not as almighty as the Christ or as grandiose as an übermensch, but ordinary folks who strive and march and work tirelessly for the betterment of other ordinary folks. I don’t know if those people just don’t make the headlines anymore or can’t yell over the frenzied hype, but I am desperate for their comfort, their strength and their vision. Desperate for those who can lead us out of the status quo state of collusion, corruption and chaos.
There is a cut-your-own tradition in Vermont with Christmas trees. Decades ago when my family first started to have Thanksgiving here, we’d tag our tree during that long weekend. Then, weeks later, we’d head back to the farm, with sled in tow and saw in hand, we’d try to find our special tree. There were years when we’d have to trudge through feet of snow, and on hands and knees, dig our way down to find the trunk. Frozen fingers wrapped around the saw we’d tug back and forth until it was cut through. Oh those fresh trees would fill the house with everything Christmas. Sweet pine. Cold air and snow. Even the mountain view came into our living room with that smell.
Tis the season of food drives and toy drives and considering those less fortunate than ourselves. It is the season of counting your blessing and sharing your riches. Time to watch out for those who need our care, and that extends to those minute song birds that stay through the winter months.
This week I wrestled with post-holiday blues and in this quiet time I recall those no longer here. Those shiny, vibrant beings who escaped their earthly bodies to dance with stars. Or at least that’s what I imagine tonight. I mean, if I can’t share a bottle of champagne with my mother anymore, at least I can presume she is doing something fabulous, starry even, right? As my eye drifts out the picture window at the endless snow falling, I hear her ringing laughter, for she adored the holiday season, skating full force from one glittery gathering to the next without pause.
One of Vermont’s biggest strengths, in my view, is that it’s a place of tradition and a place of change: from legendary apple pies to snappy hard cider. A place with morals that allow for an expanse on the definition: Christian ministers perform same-sex marriage here. A state with an elected Republican Governor, Democratic Senators and Independents sprinkled throughout. People vote for people here, not party. People listen to debates or town hall meetings or their neighbors to get a full picture of the candidates. Political advertisements are a rarity, because Vermonters aren’t dazzled by sound bites. Maybe you feel the same about your community?