Every so often, a friend and I make plans to meet at a rural crossroads, at a brick inn that was once a stagecoach stop. I imagine in those days the crossroads was populated with chickens and horses, with people coming and going, not Priuses, but in wagons and on foot. My friend and I began this habit in the summer of 2020, and so the inn has been shuttered to the public all this time.
Walking, we pass a few other Sunday walkers bundled in coats and hats. But few people are out, and there’s scant traffic. In contrast, our conversation is packed — about raising kids and planning spring gardens, about relationships, about navigating the working world as a female in a patriarchy (why are these conversations still necessary, anyway??)
The thing about Vermont in midwinter is the stillness and what breaks that quiet. Icicles drip, freeze, and then thaw and drip again. Birds appear at our feeder in increasing numbers, then whisk away again. A rouge wind blows in a squall, soon chased away by the emerging sun.
Pandemic notwithstanding, robins return to our crabapple trees.
“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”— Alan Watts