We certainly are learning how it is you live in Vermont. It is not as simple as moving, setting up shop and greeting all those lovely rugged New Englanders. Oh no, there are lessons to be learned. Between shoveling and de-icing and driving, properly bundling and the ways of frost bite, chapped cheeks and lips so intense they look like scrapes, greeting the sun with pleasure despite freezing temperatures, knowing it could be worse… these things are vital for survival up here. I didn’t know. But now I do.
And those were the easy lessons.
After a week-long reunion in Arizona, we arrived late late in the night, weary eyes wanting nothing but the comfort of our own bed. Stepping out of the car we were drawn to the sounds of rushing water all around us. The little stream beside our house was roaring. It is a comfort that reminded me of the days in May when we first moved north. It willed me to sleep each night with an ease I enjoyed so very much. But at 2 AM with a long day of travel behind us, it sounded a bit louder, a bit more intense. We carefully, oh so carefully, slid slowly over the ice, each with a sleeping babe in tote, being as careful as could be not to fall. And when we walked into our house, our reward after 12 tiring hours, the noise didn’t lessen, it grew. It grew so loud, even through our exhaustion we couldn’t ignore it. The air smelled damp and wet and stagnant. Lee and I cautiously crept downstairs gasping every step of the way seeing the devastation of the polar temperatures we left behind. What was once a sound that welcomed us into dreamland, became something that reduced us to a frantic panicked dash to the utility room sloshing through freezing waters to twist knobs and pull levers. Our pipes had frozen and exploded and our entire downstairs was flooded.
Oh these things happen do they not? They do, and they will. Despite someone checking on the house, despite heaters left at 50. They happen. It is just stuff. And for that we are glad. We were beyond grateful for a fireplace to heat our bones and for a big, warm, dry bed to crawl into (we had all moved to the upstairs bedroom a few weeks prior). We did our best to forget the sopping wet floors below us, cuddling close, cats joining in.
It was nice to ignore the reality of the freezing weather for a week.
To feel the warmth of the sun on your bare shoulders almost feels like an unforgivable act in the light of what we were feeling just a few days prior. Embracing our loved ones was absolutely worth every drop of water. Seeing friends and family and their children once tiny grown so big is a memory permanently etched in my mind, while surely pipes bursting will be just a glimmer of something that once happened.
And finally, I want to include the link to where you can find a bit more of my writing for the next 30 days.
I have a good friend back in the southland I can thank for giving me the courage and inspiration to send something in. And now, because of her, I have a heart filled with pride at my very first published story.