Last night, I attended a town emergency meeting with just a small number of people. These are all people I know in one way or another, and I’ve attended countless meetings with different combinations of these people: school board meetings, town meetings, select board meetings, library trustee meeting, Old Home Day committee meetings….
Woodbury has always been a town that epitomizes warmth, and that was the same last night, physical distance between all of us notwithstanding. In addition to discussion about the food shelf and where to store the increased supplies the state is sending our way — in addition to noting who’s elderly and in particular need — we also talked about who among us was still working, who’s still getting paid, and the endless possibilities about what might be coming our way.
I closed the town library yesterday, too. When I locked the door, I wondered when I would leave that door propped open as I have so many times.
If there’s one thing that’s very clear, it’s that the coming time will require us to delve deeply into creativity, into reimagining and recreating our world. I’m grateful to live in Vermont, where those reserves of community and mindfulness guide our towns. My thoughts with all of you, as each of your places in the world shifts, too.
My daughter discovers the snow is hard-crusted, so after dinner we head out for a walk. The nearly-full moonlight illuminates the snow. We head behind our house, slip through the fence, and walk through the cemetery. Below us, the town’s lights wink red and white.
March, and I’m biting at the bit — but for what? The clamor of spring peepers. Those late afternoon swims, lazy on our backs, staring up at the sky. The scent of wet dirt on my palms.
Laundry on the line on this Sunday afternoon.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
by Naomi Shihab Nye
17 degrees below zero this morning.
When I head out to start my daughter’s car before she heads to work, a perfect half moon is poised over our house, moonbeams glistening on our black metal roof.
Cold. But the Vermont way is to say, I’ve seen colder. I have. I will (presumably) again. Just as the body accumulates tolerance, the mind unwittingly relaxes into perspective.
But that’s the mind. As the dawn opens up, the sky bruises violet. Stars gleam. The day moves on.
Lied upon one another
The umbrellas in the snow.
In a handful of days, my oldest daughter will be twenty-one. Wow, that’s a birthday.
When she turned six and I marveled over that, another mother told me all birthdays are big. Six was big, and so was seven, and so on. But 21? That’s an age when her heart’s been broken, more than once, an age when she’s fully left adolescence and crossed over into the realm of adulthood.
The year she turned six, her best girlfriend from down the road walked over wearing a tutu. Snow was falling.
When she turned seven, my friend had made her a piñata with purple and silver sparkles. When the pretty thing broke apart, her baby sister cried.
Twenty-one: now I keep up with the Impeachment hearings to hold up my end of our conversation. Twenty-one: so glad to have you here.
No matter who lives, who dies, the seasons never rest.
Creatures take their turns, and the year turns and turns.
David Budbill, Judevine
Pea soup with scraps of leftover ham bubbled on our stove all day — a weekday more like a Sunday. Walking through town, I met no one.
At the end of the holiday school break, I head out before dinner to empty the compost pail in the bin. Amazingly, the afternoon is light yet, not dim as the afternoons were not long before the holiday. I stand there for a moment, watching wet snowflakes twirl down, the snow and I heedless of any time.
A radiance rises from the snow-covered town cemetery just behind my garden, bright despite the granite stones.
More so than other years, this holiday my daughters and I seemed to have rounded that bend from the divorce. Maybe it’s nothing more than the distance of time and physical space. Maybe it’s simply that time doesn’t cure, but it does scab over. Oddly this season, I kept thinking of Mary Oliver’s line about her box of darkness, and how that, too, was a gift. Maybe that’s part of this whole holiday season, too: that light does, inevitably, come of darkness, always.
Happy wishes for another decade of living: 2020.
Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
— Mary Oliver
When I was really little — probably three or so — I vaguely remember my family parked outside of town, watching the Fourth of July fireworks. My mother said the sprawl of lights in the darkness was Santa Fe. That’s how little I was — I didn’t even realize that magic was city lights. We lived on a dirt road then, out of town, and my guess is I hadn’t seen much of those bright city lights.
Oddly enough, I remembered that as I was taking out the compost the other night, just around 5 o’clock. The sun had sunk, leaving not even a smear of pale pink.
In the darkness, later, the dishes washed, my daughter and I walked around town, our jackets unzipped.
Nothing ever begins when you think it does. You think you can trace something back to its roots but roots by definition never end. There’s always something that came before: soil and water and seeds that were born of trees that were born of yet more seeds.
― The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion