December 5, 2011Winter’s Surprise
There’s a question that people who spend time here in the summer often ask me: What is it like in the winter? I don’t know if they ask out of idle curiosity or if it’s the question of someone who is thinking about giving it a try. My answer is never very long: I love it! I don’t know if I’ve lived up here too long or why it is that I love the winters so much but there is no reason why I live here except for the fact that I love it, summer and winter. I’m like a dyed-in-the-wool sports fan: this is my team. If they lose continuously, I’m not happy but I don’t give up on them. If they goof up, I still love them. And, you know, if they’re on a winning streak, what more can I say? I’m in heaven. Besides, if I only stick around for the good times, what kind of friend am I?
Last winter, to be sure, was a great one for the winter lovers among us. The storms were reasonably spaced, beautiful to observe, and not terribly unmanageable. Just right. Enough so the ground and the roads stayed a lovely bright white all through the season. If I’d had a horse and sleigh, we would have been mobile from December through April. I took more photos last winter than I have in years. As well, we didn’t have a single ice storm nor a single power outage. And the temperatures only dropped well below zero once, that I can recall. And the spring came soon enough, a welcome renaissance. I like these changes that come round to remind us of the wheel of life. If there is such a thing as a perfect winter we had it last winter, a time that would answer all the worries of any would-be year-rounder.
It does help to be a writer as the winter lends itself to working at the desk. One January, I sat down at my computer and started writing a book. By February 29, I had a full length manuscript (plus a tired rear end). (The book was later published as Saturday Beans and Sunday Suppers: Kitchen Stories from Mary’s Farm). I seriously doubt I could have done that during the hot and busy months of July and August. After Christmas ends, the gestation period begins. Cocooning sets in – even the mention of the word gets me in the mood.
I do think it would be hard to live up here through a winter if you didn’t have friends, good friends whose company you enjoy. And I think it’s important to have an occupation, paid or unpaid. You have to stay busy. There are all kinds of things to keep us going here. The Christmas season, with its parties, festivals, and musical events, is so busy most of us sink into blessed relief once it’s over. The midwinter is the toughest part for those who dread the winter. Last winter we put on concerts and art shows at the church and held a dramatic reading in the middle of February, all as fund-raisers. It was wonderful fun to plan and then put it all into motion, rejoice in the money we raised for the church. These things do keep the days moving swiftly. Soon enough, the sap is flowing, in the trees as well as elsewhere.
If you doubt the winter, I say, give it a try. You might surprise yourself.
Be sure to check out my website, www.edieclark.com. I've got a new CD out, makes a great gift. In the current climate, it seems appropriate to point out that all my books and CDs are completely made in America, and primarily in New Hampshire. And the books are printed on recycled paper. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, and enjoy the storms to come.