Winter is Coming...

They say it is in spring that we awaken and blossom. In Vermont, I think it is in late fall. We come alive as leaf-peepers and colors fade and trees are stripped bare. A silent siren call rings throughout our former green mountains now turned to rust.
"Winter," it warns. "Time to prepare."

And, although we may "piss and moan" as the saying goes, we rise to the occasion. These are the days of gray skies and brown earth, cool frosty mornings, even colder nights. It is the time where air begins to hang thick with wood smoke. It rises from chimneys and assaults the nostrils, a specter of approaching winter. It promises warmth and home.

We get to work, as busy as our animal cousins, shoring up for winter. Sheds and garages transform into storehouses for lawn furniture, summer tires, gardening supplies. They now look fed and content, their bellies full. We buy and stack wood and stack wood some more. Backs, hands, and feet ache, but eyes gleam and Vermont hearts swell. Somewhere in our New England spines we know this is the way things are supposed to be.

They say that humans come from dust and to dust we will return, but here in New England, I think it is snow and ice and cold that forms us and cold is our inevitable end. And, even I, as a child of summer, who was born on Long Island to a mother raised on the water, who hates to drive if there is a flake in the sky, feels the stirring in my blood.

"Winter is coming. We are almost home."