When we were looking at houses last winter, before we found this very one I sit in, my real estate agent would describe locations to us in two ways: “Quaint and charming”, or “Real Vermont”. Words like quaint and charming have never really done it for me if for no reason other than the way they feel in my mouth, or the way they make me raise my eyebrows up and wiggle my head with I say them, or the way my eyes actually seem to shut ever so briefly in a way that says, “I am joking. Seriously, I am joking”. So I leaned towards the houses in Real Vermont. And I am glad I did.
So here we are in “Real Vermont.” I think I am beginning to finally understand what exactly that means. I think it means something like welcoming the snow with wide open arms, and standing with your face in the sun at every opportunity you get. It is seeing our neighbor wearing a little ball cap and no gloves on a day with a 15 below wind chill factor, without so much as a word about it. It definitely has something to do with not complaining about the weather, or power outages, or hard work or much at all really. These things are ingrained in these people’s souls. It is humbling and inspiring all at once. It is about meeting people who believe in something and make big changes and live in small ways.
I am so glad to have been finding these curious and lovely folks tucked in the corners of these small towns all around us. They teach me so much without ever being preachy or pushy or wiser than thou. They just live and that’s all they have to do to spark a bit of possibility. They stand in their truth, and usually with the happiest of grins on their faces.
The other day I was at a friend’s house who lives with no electricity or running water. Her home is cozy and very tiny. Her life is hard work and she loves it. When I was leaving I mentioned something about the state of my house, and its certainty to be quite a disaster when I returned home. She replied, “But its warm. And it’s dry.” I smiled. It was the kind of smile where you get a little butterfly in your chest and a wrinkle on your nose. It was funny, because it was so true.
The last few days have been spent mainly within these warm and dry walls, and for that we truly are grateful. It is windy and cold and little fingers and toes can only tolerate that for so long. I managed to sew the buttons on a sweater I knitted Jasper before we met him, and Miles and I made a dried flower mobile.
We ordered dozens of packages of seeds to plant this spring; Clicking on pretty flowers is perhaps the most adorable five-year old chore I have ever witnessed. There have been many sheet forts, books read, bows carved, and cups of hot cocoa consumed. Miles even learned to knit. (I could leap for joy at that milestone.)
Yes, our home is warm and dry. Warm and dry and full of a whole bunch of boys that I love so much.