Recent news headlines have given much attention to a pair of snowstorms that swept through the northeastern region during the first two weeks of February. Those in the media have become fond of naming winter storms these days (Stormageddon, Frankenstorm, etc.). The stories are typically filled with tales of hardship as transportation networks skid to a standstill. It’s almost as if the out-of-doors has become an unforgiving space that one must pass through in order to move from their homes to their offices and back (over increasingly long distances as the cancerous cells of suburbia continue their spread).
While working in the shop a few days ago, I was listening to one of our independent local radio stations. The D.J. was reporting on the snow that was falling outside. She spoke of the fact that twelve to sixteen inches were forecast. Giddy with what she saw coming down outside her window; she remarked that she’d be much happier if 36 inches fell, but if we ended up with only a foot she’d just have to be satisfied with less. I smiled in agreement.
Here in Vermont, snowfall is more commonly cause for celebration than stress. While other, typically more urbanized, areas struggle with roadways clogged with automobiles and drivers ill-equipped to handle even a few inches of snow, I find great pleasure in the magical transformation a snowstorm brings to the landscape.
Sure, it adds another task to the day. I climb aboard the tractor and clear the half-mile of road between us and the junction where the town plows reach. This year, for the first time, we have also shoveled paths from the timber piles to the greenhouse wood-shop so we can move the timbers in for cutting the joinery. (I’m currently working on the floor joists for the new barn.)
But a heavy snowfall is also cause for a hike, which is exactly what I did after the first twelve-inch storm passed through a week ago. I put on the snowshoes and headed for the top of the hill above our meadows (above). On the way down, as I sat watching the sunset on the hillside above the old Frye barn, I heard the hiss of skis through fresh powder. A pair of backcountry skiers glided by, gracefully carving turns as they descended to the meadow below.
As darkness fell I got up out of the snow and began my own descent. I passed by the Frye barn on the way back to the house. The skies above gave reason for pause once again. I set up my tripod and took another series of shots as the day’s last light shone golden on clouds that scudded overhead (top photo).
Celebrate winter. Celebrate snow.
Yesterday we awoke to another sixteen inches of new snow – our first nor’easter of the season. Another cause for celebration.
We cleared the paths between house and outhouse and shop and woodpile. Snow depths approach waist-deep as the memory of a dry, mostly snow-less January fades.
It’s snowing again as I write these lines. Another storm is setting up for Tuesday of next week. Celebrate, and enjoy!