It sure doesn't feel like we're still 9 days shy of the first day of winter, but the calendar says we're still in fall. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are predicted to have low temperatures at night in the single digits or below zero. Upper Valley chimneys are in mid-season form, and woodpiles will start to go down noticeably. With schools in the area cancelled today, parents and children hunkered down for the fist time this season, playing games, watching movies, sledding, making a snow angel or two. More than one area resident experienced a tight soreness in their shoveling muscles. Plows ferried back and forth on arteries, driveways, and side streets. Snow like today is always an exciting test of sorts: how ready were you and yours for winter? Did you scramble to find balaclavas, scarves, the ice scraper, or the bucket of sand? Is your mitten drying station all set up? Some people, on their wooden walkways or stairs, undoubtedly cursed their own sloth as their shovels got caught on the nail heads they had been meaning to hammer down since last April. Everyone of us knows someone who hasn't yet got their snow tires on. It happens.
Outside, the trees are beautiful soldiers, their wooden skeletons silently bearing the weight of another stretch of darkness, frigid air, and quiet.
Understandably, you wonder "what has this got to do with the 19 Days of Norwich and Beyond?" Well, when you shop at a participating business during the first 19 days of December -- remember December 1, when snow felt like it was a long ways off? -- a penny of every dollar you spend goes to the Upper Valley Haven. There is no form to fill out, no name to leave, no hassle. Tonight, as the mercury dips, it is worth considering where that penny -- and literally millions of other pennies -- end up. A look at the Haven's website is all you need to find one particularly relevant destination: "Our goal is...to provide basic safe shelter for those who need it during cold weather months when our regular Shelters are full."
That seems like a goal the Upper Valley is more than capable of meeting.
Tomorrow, we'll see what Hanover has to say about these 19 Days...