Took a well-needed respite from this biting East Coast winter by heading as far West as the continent allows. Left a black and white Vermont in search of sunshine and green and two hours outside of LA, happily found a place made infamous by being Al Capone’s desert hideout. Three days of watching the palm fronds sway as I floated with my daughter in the healing mineral waters of Two Bunch Palms proved to be exactly the refuge I needed.
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.
You say all your holiday lights and decorations are repacked and tucked away in the attic, and you add, you have returned to life as normal, but I’m still lingering over the gifts that keep me feeling like life is a wonderful celebration and not just a twisted complicated set of lies (or half truths or mostly falsehoods or what ever you call the untruths we have become accustomed to) told by Trump. This week, while the border wall lies mount higher than the proposed wall itself, I especially need to count my gifts, stay focused on what I can control, look up and say thank you to a pretty sunset spied on an afternoon run, and trust, yes trust that the goodness of the good will prevail over those aging white suits frantic to return to a world where their privilege was a propped up principal granted regardless of their bad bad behavior, their criminal behavior, that passed as acceptable for centuries. Ignore them and their willingness to surrender truth I tell myself, and trust that the newbies in Congress will put aside this old order and “impeach the motherfucker.”
Before 2018 fades into the dust, I decided to trip back through Nine Cent Girl to rediscover what a fabulous year it truly was for me. Travel loomed large this past year, as did love with the family and outdoors, and having fun with fashion. Yes to questioning life. I still lend advice on just about everything in post after post, perhaps rather lavishly, but in all honesty, I do so for myself as well as all of you. I wrote this retrospective post for those of you who may have missed a weekly entry or two last year, or, just in case you’d like to revisit. Ready? Let’s do this wearing a splashy pink wig, and glasses that reflect the world back right back to you, as I wore for: “A Light Exists in Spring.”
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.
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?