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Edie at home in her kitchen.

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The View from Mary's Farm

Winter's Surprise

December 5, 2011

One of last's years' beautiful storms
Winterís Surprise

Thereís a question that people who spend time here in the summer often ask me: What is it like in the winter? I donít know if they ask out of idle curiosity or if itís the question of someone who is thinking about giving it a try. My answer is never very long: I love it! I donít know if Iíve 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. Iím like a dyed-in-the-wool sports fan: this is my team. If they lose continuously, Iím not happy but I donít give up on them. If they goof up, I still love them. And, you know, if theyíre on a winning streak, what more can I say? Iím 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 Iíd 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 didnít 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 Maryís 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 Ė 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 didnít have friends, good friends whose company you enjoy. And I think itís 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 itís 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.

Selected Works

In 1992, the Bishop of Worcester condemned St. Joseph's Catholic Church and ordered it closed. The parishioners refused to leave, sleeping on cots and on the hard pews. For thirteen months this was their life. In July of 1993, they were removed by the police. In many ways this was the blossoming of their faith. Originally published in Yankee Magazine in November 1993.
Growing up, nothing I could do seemed to please my mother and nothing she said made sense to me. But when my mother, on the threshold of death, came to live with me, I found what seemed to have been lost forever. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1995
(The follow-up article to Miracle at St. Joseph's.) The Bishop turned to them and said, "Your prayers have been answered, the hard hearts have softened." Originally published in Yankee Magazine, December 1996
A reflection on the power of cooking and friendship and the concept of family. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, November/December 2007
Memorial Day, Harrisville, New Hampshire 1995. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1996
My Articles
Libraries occupy a special place in the heart of a town. Evening events at the library give a strong sense of community and make it seem like a great place to live. And in the wake of the online revolution small town libraries have found a way to not only survive but to be indispensable.
In December 2008 an epic ice storm left virtually the entire state of New Hampshire without power. The residual effects of that storm paralyzed the Monadnock Region almost through Christmas. A first person account.
In 1994, sixteen-year-old Billy Best was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. After several treatments, he ran away to avoid chemotherapy. What happened after that may have been a miracle.
Roxanne Quimby once lived primitively in the Maine woods. Today she owns 90,000 acres of those woods, and her goal is to create a national park to preserve the landscape forever. So why do so many people wish she'd just go away?
Multi-million dollar border stations are rising along our line between US and Canada. What was once the "friendliest border" has become deadly serious.
Renowned short story writer, Andre Dubus, reflects on the accident that cost him his legs.
A trip to Poland discovers a beloved family friend
An elegy for the master of the short story.
Fall comes to The County
Thousands seek healing from this innocent, comatose child.
A complete listing of articles published since 1978
An encounter with a sick fox brings a young woman to the heart of her grief