I’ve worn out this plucky little word as both noun and verb for about a week. The nor’easter that moved into New England on Tuesday stalled out right over my neighborhood, evidently right on top of my house. The snow came stealthily at times and brazenly at others, mostly in silence. It was wet and messy and sometimes mixed with ice, which hammered menacingly on the loft’s skylights. In the end it proved more than the tree limbs and power lines could bear, leaving tens of thousands in the dark across the region, self included.
Shoveling snow early Thursday morning I heard unmistakable loud cracking and popping reverberate in the forest around me, then crashing: mangled limbs and trees coming down behind my loft, not far away. It dawned on me that being hemmed in without power and water was a possibility (never mind the fact that I’ve had no Internet for the past month). A week earlier a largish dead tree came down during comparatively fair weather and partially obscured the quarter-mile-long drive to the house, and a few weeks before that I came home one afternoon to a pair of trees sprawled across the V.A.S.T. trailhead at the bend in the drive onto the property, casualties of rain and high winds.
Not long ago I switched insurance companies in my eternal quest to live as frugally as possible; the nice insurance rep sitting in a faraway cubicle somewhere wanted to know the location of the nearest fire hydrant. I laughed out loud (really). I went on to describe rural Vermont’s isolation for her, adding that I’m pretty sure what Vermonters do during a house fire is stand around and warm their hands while they watch it burn (with all due respect to the volunteer fire departments dotting the landscape). She was not amused by this.
I am not especially amused, either. As I have said more than once in recent days: I did not come to Vermont to live alone in the wilderness. But my purpose here now is enigmatic, defies explanation, really. Coming to Handsome Chef Boyfriend’s place Thursday night gave me a little perspective and firmed my resolve about the things I want. It also gave me connectedness—no small thing. And it restored a wonderful sense of normalcy, reminding me it’s okay to relax just a little and enjoy the beauty of winter—which has not yet arrived, officially.
The days begin lengthening on December 22. That’s a week from tomorrow. In case you’re wondering.