What did our November snowstorm tell us…was it a predictor of things to come?
I love snowstorms but not a big fan of power outages. Our local world is amazingly beautiful and still after an intense snowstorm especially when our manmade sounds are silenced. Quiet blanketed our area like the new fallen snow with the hum of generators taking exception. An outage can initially be quite romantic and cozy as we slip into our frontier like mode but that ideal only lasts for an hour or two before one starts to feel inconvenienced by mother nature. When one powerless day turns into the next and so on and so on it becomes weary. Teachable but weary. This potent November storm has given us much to chat about for days and weeks to come I suspect. As my husband and I picked out our Christmas wreath recently the proprietor coined this early storm as our “white Irene.” Well said. I did find it refreshing to speak about a natural occurrence as opposed to the unpredictable politics of the day. The burning question of why does Barnard get so much more snow than South Pomfret was a welcome diversion. We had some great fun exploring that very question as we had dinner at Max’s Tavern one night last week with the snow piled high outside the tavern window. In literature, as in life, that new blanket of white is quite symbolic.
I haven’t written anything for what seems like a very long time so I am a little rusty and not sure I will truly convey what I want and mean to say this morning. I certainly have been thinking a lot about trying to write but unsuccessful till today. I am a working artist primarily a contemporary painter and have been spending untold hours working in my studio. Yes, I am wired to work hard, disciplined and driven…thanks so much Dad who led by example and taught me well. However, that is not the whole story as I have also gone into survival mode and relying on my box of paints to become my refuge. The state of affairs in our country has saddened me making me fearful for our democracy and the country I love. Feeling overwhelmed and somewhat powerless I thought the least I could do is provide some beautiful color to a world that seemed bleak to me. Painting I can do! I have felt the tremendous weight of our current challenges as many of us do. I have really gone inward trying to understand where we are as a nation and where are we headed…no conclusions as yet but plenty of concern.
We have the luxury of living in an area where beauty surrounds and I find great comfort in the stability of our physical reality. The unwavering strength of the mountains that seemingly remain unchanged or unphased assures me that there are tangibles to depend on daily. They continue to stand strong and tall. Nature like our community also has a wonderful rhythm to it. I started to do some Christmas shopping in Woodstock the other day. I couldn’t quite discern if I was more excited about shopping for my daughter and soon to be daughter in law or just the experience of some very pleasant interaction with the independent business owners I have come to know. It turned out a tie because the experience was perfect on both fronts.
How we react to and treat one another is critical. Whether you are helping a neighbor during a power outage get his generator roaring again or having a meaningful conversation with Daily UV about getting back to some blogging…caring and support is part of our inherent beauty and backbone. The generator repair turned into a delightful chat over coffee learning so much more about a fascinating life well lived and that helpful and interested conversation with the DailyUV got this writer back to work. I will rely on the reader to decide if that is a good thing or not!
Sometimes it may feel a little more rugged to live here when the neighborhood darkens and candlelight is the only illumination but it is exactly what keeps us healthy and connected…I am thankful for it. When all is spiraling out of control on the larger scale our local community is our best investment and the perfect place to focus and lead by example. There is something so grounding when you can count on the people in your community and the mountains around you.
Our 41st president George H. W. Bush has passed away at the age of 94. Reportedly he lived a full and wonderful life … a man of substance. I did not share his politics but respected how he lived his life and loved his family. A very competitive man I have learned, who was able to turn his reelection defeat to Bill Clinton into a friendship. Deciding to work together for a greater good. I heard an amazing quote that I will only paraphrase and probably mess that up a bit as well but the message will resonate for you I hope. When asked in an interview about their unlikely friendship George H. W. Bush said…he (Bill) likes to talk, I (George) am a good listener and I was the father he never had. What is not to admire about someone who identifies a great need in another human being and can rise above their own disappointment and political ideology to meet that need.
Feeling needed and valued is intrinsic for us humans and I suspect part of our country’s struggle has been for those that feel unheard. Maybe we as a nation would benefit by emphasizing listening skills, let others talk so as we can find our greater good once again. I do draw the line when name calling and violence are the norm as there is nothing good or productive in that. We are better than that! My father was a WWII veteran landing in Normandy, marching across Europe and in the occupation at the tender age of 18…I will not let his effort be in vain.
We are in this together and this is our country… it is not a matter of who is right or wrong but a matter of democracy and protecting it for our children and future generations. Freedom is a fragile and incredibly special privilege but has not come easily or without cost. Many lives have been lost protecting our very freedom…we cannot be frivolous now!