In Vermont, the winter is ubiquitous and possibly unending now. Fresh snow falls frequently, and all day yesterday the children were in and out of the house, hanging snow pants and mittens and hats clotted with snow to dry beside the wood stove.

Last night, driving through the tiny town of Lake Elmore, I pointed to a glowing line of lights on a hillside, and mentioned to my teenager that I wondered who lived there.

She answered, “It’s obviously a merry-go-around.”

This is a terrific thing about having a teenager – despite the crabbing or the exhausting insistence that life should be fair when of course fairness is not a universal principle – teenagers are simply fun. Why shouldn’t there be a merry-go-round in rural Vermont? It’s possible.

So, beginning another year, I’m bending toward brighter possibilities. Maybe that line of lights was nailed up to outdo the neighbors, or maybe the lights were bought by a teenage girl and her sister with money they earned, to illuminate their house, or maybe it is a carousel spinning around, welcoming in 2017 with music.

Bless this my house under the pitch pines
where the cardinal flashes and the kestrels hover…
Please, no foreign wars.
Keep this house from termites and the bane
of quarreling past what can be sweetly healed….
mostly keep us from our sharpening fear
as we skate over the ice of the new year.

Marge Piercy, from “On New Year’s Day”fullsizerender

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