In a race with the season’s first impending snowstorm, I drive home from southern Vermont in those numberless hours of the night. I-91 northward to St. Johnsbury is bereft on traffic on an ordinary day. In the pocket of night, it’s me, a few rocketing cars from New York and Connecticut, interspersed long-haul truckers hurrying elsewhere.
I drink espresso and listen to This American Life, and when my attention wanes, Sam Birger and Fresh Air keep me company with Michael Imperioli. In the vessel of my Subaru, swathed with the blindness of night, my radio is oddly intimate.
Somewhere in that stretch, I do what I’ve cautioned my daughters never to do: I stop at a closed rest area and walk up and down the sidewalk vigorously. The night, with its promise of snow rushing in, bites coldly. Two trucks idle. The rest area is lit by lights tinged an orange-yellow, suffused with mist, as if we’re in a nether world, maybe the Underworld, maybe a halfway point between two realms. There’s such a strange, almost heady relief in being this unknown place, the allure of endless miles unfolding before me. My mind is filled with the night’s experiences — an enchanting home, the stories of strangers, a woman who poured out her heart about a funeral she attended that afternoon — the embrace of what’s resilient in our Vermont towns and what’s broken, cracked, fissured. I follow my advice to strangers and take my time, breathing in that damp and diesel-choked air, the freshness of wetlands at the far end of the lot, where the ground has not yet frozen. I wear my wool hat and a thin cotton dress. The night goes on and on.
In the morning, snow falls steadily. My daughter and I drink coffee and eat Helga’s delicious blueberry torte and lemon mascarpone. A shift already, from gray November to winter’s enchanting light.
16 thoughts on “First Snowfall, Again.”
Lovely reflection, as always. The first blush of winter is so magical. I enjoy it until after the holidays, and then by March I am so ready for winter to depart. Done with the gray and dreary days by then.
On all points, I’m in complete agreement.
That stretch is always a bit desolate!
Isn’t it? Both an allure and a….. well, am I at the end of the planet?
It can be a bit disconcerting! I remember once I was driving to St. J and I thought I must have missed a detour because there was absolutely no one on the road either way.
Then a truck went by.
It can be really surreal. You don’t want to miss your exit, either…
Your lovely description makes it almost enjoyable. No snow for this body, but I am glad you appreciate it.
This little warm tease is really fine. Just kind of a winter warm-up.
Such a mood-suffused post. I can feel the damp chill, see the strange orange haze of the lights, and feel the enveloping darkness in your car and outside of it. Well done (again), my friend.
My friend, always so nice to hear from you!
Hello Brett Ann, your writting is a treat to read, thank you for sharing it often! ________________________________
Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate it!
So lyrically beautiful.
I liked this one. Makes me want to take a road trip.
Nothing like a road trip!