Ah, Winter

Every winter, I shovel a path from the woodshed to the back entry, and another from the kitchen door to the compost pile, a hand-cut maze around my house. The snow in northern Vermont falls so amply my daughters, when toddlers, were sometimes completely concealed in these paths. I could hear a little girl laughing, running with baby steps in snow boots, invisible to my eye.

Yesterday, the 11-year-old and her friend, still wearing pajamas, opened the door and oooohhhhed at the snow. They shoveled a steep slide off the kitchen roof, and then made another from the sugarhouse roof.

In the afternoon, sun emerged and light snow drifted down outside the public library windows. The library filled with just the right amount of people, the children busy with crafts, the adults companionable, drinking coffee and working. At five, I walked outside into what must be the best of Vermont winter: drifting bits of perfect snowflake shot through with sunlight, mixed with the blueness of twilight.

But writing itself is one of the great, free human activities. There is scope for individuality, and elation, and discovery, in writing. For the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, an inexhaustible environment….

William Stafford, Writing the Australian Crawl


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