far too much writing, far too many photos

Left the house early this morning. Overcast sky above dark, no stars. Landscape asleep beneath deep midwinter blanket of white, 2-3 inches of newly fallen snow rounding all edges and corners, ice crystals glinting in my Subaru’s headlights as if the stars once spread out above had drifted down, mingling with snowflakes and coming to rest in my yard

Yesterday was the first day of what passes here for mild conditions at this time of year, after nearly a week of brutal cold, including morning temperatures as low as -25°F/-32°C (not including wind chill). Early yesterday afternoon, before clouds moved in, the mercury briefly drifted up to hover around the freezing mark, prompting the lovely sound of snowmelt trickling through gutters and downspouts. This morning, temperature 30-40 degrees higher than on recent mornings, early morning joggers were everywhere in Montpelier. The overnight cloud cover slid slowly northeast during the drive into town, revealing a crescent moon straight out of a Maxfield Parrish image. Daylight brought sounds of celebration from local birds, endowing the morning with a strangely spring-like feeling.

Every now and then during the early morning drives, I pass a house still shining with Christmas lights, and for the first time ever I find myself enjoying the past-holiday decoration thing. Likewise for understated Christmas streetlights still up in Montpelier, bringing a bit of gentle cheer to the dark early mornings. I like it.

Last week, the intense cold created plumes of smoke and steam everywhere — from chimneys, building venting systems, car exhaust pipes. It added to the feeling of deep, biting far-north winter. The break from all that feels just fine.

I know I’m going on about the weather. In this corner of the world, during this season, the weather imposes itself on daily life in a way that is difficult to factor out. Days of arctic weather leave me appreciating the basics: food, running water, shelter, heat, warm clothing, a working vehicle. A day bringing relief from the deep freeze brings a different, more expansive kind of appreciation. And that’s where I am right now. Enjoying the feeling of sudden lightness, of breathing easier. Streets and sidewalks remain sloppy, winter has in no way backed off, but for the moment I’m at peace with it.

España, te echo de menos

2 Responses to “a moment of peace”

  1. mad

    Last week, it was mostly in the low 80s here. Not to rub it in.

  2. rws

    rubbing it in? you? course not.

    (bastard.) :-)

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