Here in central Vermont, we’ve had a wonderful, long, sunny and mild fall. The leaves — almost finished now — turned slowly but beautifully. There were a few trees on my street that were so vibrant that I saw a visiting leaf peeper literally lying full out on the sidewalk to get the best possible shot. Television shows and movies love to use Vermont as an example of Epic Fall, and for good reason. It really is that lovely.
But that gorgeous fall brings us inevitably to what’s next. Winter is coming.
I have mixed feelings. Winter can be very beautiful, but it can also be brutally cold and depressingly dark. As the days grow colder (and as of today: wetter) I find that I’m almost physically bracing myself against the season changing any further than it has right now. My shoulders are tense and tired – as if I’m already facing a stiff headwind.
I’m aware that I should do outdoor winter sports to combat the grimness, so don’t even write to tell me that. And I’ve been doing very well this fall with walking a lot. It’s decent exercise, but it also just feels great to be out in the world. I hate to think of losing that feeling for six or eight months, so I’ll try to keep it going at least until the sidewalks get slippery and I could clearly be a threat to my own safety and that of passersby.
After that, we’ll see. Vermont in the winter seems to divide itself up between people who ski and people who don’t, and the people who ski are always ready to tell you how great it is. But nobody in my family seems to take much of an interest and I don’t feel up to forcing the issue. This year I’m going on record right now: I’m staying in the non-skiing group. I’m not even going to pretend otherwise. Snowshoeing, maybe. That would put me outside but in less danger of cracking my head open.
Anyway, I promise I will try to welcome winter as it comes. I’ll definitely appreciate the sparkle of those first few snows, especially since we’ve had so little in the past two years. I promise to take John sledding at the first possible opportunity. I will definitely get my snowshoes off the wall in the garage. John’s, too. Matt’s, too. I’ll happily get out the crock pot and the tea kettle. Hold me to all that. As for March and April, when it’s still ridiculously cold, I don’t know what to say. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Probably with bourbon.