Following an unusually warm December, winter seems to have arrived. Burlington’s high yesterday was eight degrees. Today was similarly cold, then this evening the mercury rose to sixteen. We’ve had light snow over the last three days, finally coating the fields. When the temperature drops to single digits, snow gains a starchy granularity, squeaking a little underfoot.
Here’s my home, in bright early morning, following the first snow.
And here’s the gloomy view from the back this evening. Winter nights are certainly dark and long.
Gus the hound and I stepped outside, he to sniff the yard, I to clear new snow from the porch. Although I own a snowblower, I generally keep busy with the shovel. I appreciate the exercise, and the snowblower feels like cheating, at least for the first half of winter. Beside the porch window, you can see my thermometer. I captured some impressive temperatures last winter:
A minus-five reading is common by mid-winter, but minus-nineteen is indeed very cold. Some family and friends, in warmer climes, view northern New England winters as an ordeal. Winter is a lot of work, and sometimes exhausting. Yet in truth, the season is as exhilarating as it is beleaguering. The snowy landscape is often beautiful, from dazzling light in sun to soft glow under the moon. There is incredible quietness to snow, muffling the hard edges of noise. Of course we ski, sled, and snowshoe, all great exercise and lots of fun. Even when winter outlasts its welcome, in the chill gray of March and April, we discover a sort of gallows camaraderie in exhausted anticipation of the thaw. And only in winter can we experience the deep comfort of sitting beside a fire. At my house, the stove burns nearly continuously, consuming about four cords by spring. When all is dark and chill outside, the heat and flames are mesmerizing.
And so winter has arrived, another exhausting, cold winter, another season of snowball fights and skis, rising early to shovel the driveway and lingering late to bask by the fire. Welcome back, winter.