Deja vu all over again. After a six month reprieve, it was back. No one imagined a little snow would cause so much trouble. We love our trees and hate to see them trimmed, but since it would take years and millions to put power, phone and cable wires underground, we are going to have to shed some greenery to prevent another hardship like the one Alfred just handed us. Of course, living in a colonial home – it shouldn’t have been a hardship. It’s one thing to live in an antique house, and quite another to know how to use it! There are fireplaces to warm us – just need to keep plenty of kindling, dry logs and matches on hand. You can cook over them as well – with sturdy iron pots. As to water, you need a shallow well and a good hand pump. An outhouse would be nice. A few chickens, maybe a pig… Let’s face it. It can be done, but in the 21st century, we’re pretty wired up and dependent on electricity to make everything work. And there’s the internet, communication, cordless phones, cell phones that need to be charged. Thank goodness for cars and car chargers, their heat and their radio. Thank goodness for those CL&P workers who did their darndest, night and day, to get us all hooked up again. Now everything is back to normal. Our week without left us with stories to tell, lessons learned, and for a lot of us – a new generator.
This is some January we’re having. Usually this month is kind to us, more of an extended Autumn, but this one’s a doozy. Every year, after twenty inches of snow, I ask myself why we do it, why do we stay? Why don’t we head south, or southwest, say to, Arizona? Well the obvious answer, besides work, is that there aren’t any New England colonials there. If those hearty souls – the early settlers – could stand it without plowed driveways and with only fireplaces for warmth, certainly we, with our electricity, central heating, down coats and comforters, can handle it. Heck, they even had to trudge through snow to use the outhouse…
I have to say, after all the shoveling, the icy paths, and icicles clinging like crystal monster teeth from every eave – I don’t mind it! I’m enjoying it. The cool, crisp air is invigorating, the clean white snow creates a picturesque landscape, especially of colonial homes and open spaces. Red barns and cardinals, picket and split rail fences, saltboxes and farmhouses, against yard high snowfall is the stuff of magazine covers. Photographers like Ansel Adams created masterpieces from these environs – but the right stuff had to be there for them. Streets, farmlands and villages that have preserved their land, their history and architecture are the right stuff. It’s the stuff that speaks to our inner sense of harmony, peace and balance.
That is why we don’t head south. I think to embrace and fully enjoy the fruits of Winter’s labor enriches the soul, and makes one feel more deserving of the richness of Spring. So for now, until the icicles melt, the paths clear, and the river swells from the north’s flood, we’ll persevere, hunker down by the hearth, count our blessings and our progress over these last few hundred years and, of course, keep shoveling – with a smile.