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The Forecast Calls for Winter. Eventually.

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stone wall in the woods

Maryland’s Eastern Shore had 15.5 inches of snow this week and they could have surely done without it. We were working-up to an expected snowfall of five inches or more today, but the expectation has withered to an inch. Except where the snow has been piled by plows from the few dustings we have had, the ground in town has been barren, cold and hard underfoot and the surrounding woods have seemed naked, absent their foliage and any snow cover. The detritus of the forest floor has been more obvious than the forest.

The beginning of winter in Monadnock has been about ice resulting from a torturous cycle of freezing rain one day, freezing temperatures that night, followed by sunshine and warmer weather the next day, followed by freezing temperatures that night, followed by freezing rain the next day, followed by – you get the picture. We might call it the Zamboni affect.

Christmas Day the parking area of the Inn was like glass. Zamboni perfect, with a slight, morning drizzle on top for extra glide power. Do you wonder why hockey players typically hop over the wall returning to their bench rather than open the door? It is easier (and faster). You need traction on the ground to open a door, most assuredly a frozen car door. Without it, you might find yourself – as we did once or twice in our formative years – splayed on the ground still clutching the door handle above you.

This is not a laughing matter when you have a houseful of guests all heading out to visit family and friends on Christmas Day. We put out buckets of sand and urged caution, changing the subject frequently at breakfast (“More coffee? What are your plans for summer vacation? How’s COVID where you live? More coffee?”), with a desire to pin them down in the building until later in the morning to give time and temperature a chance to de-ice the way forward.

We could be helped by snow, which we are more used to than Maryland. We are supposed to have 15.5 inches of snow, Maryland is not. Maryland is supposed to have crab. We are supposed to have pot roast. It ought to be the same with the weather. And while we get enough weather without trying in New England, something that passes as normal to complain about is preferable to something that is not. This is how we derive comfort living where we do. Outside, this time of year, there is to be wind and snow. Inside, there is to be pot roast. Simple. But, as it is, we have been tempted to go out and light the grill for dinner. Very unsettling.

Bud Adams is across the street checking on the property his family owns, which is a comfortable apartment building that has been home to countless people in town for over 100 years. It is a good property, very well maintained by Bud.

Bud is a marvel shoveling snow. His shoveling form is both powerful and graceful. It is also persistent, which is a key attribute separating Bud and his shoveling peers from the rest of us mortals that bend at the waist, scoop, toss, straighten, wince and repeat. The great ones, like Bud, crouch at the knees and attack the snow in front of them until it is fully subdued.

Maybe the snow is just afraid. Certainly, it seems to have gone south for the winter.

From where we are, to where you are, we wish you a very Happy New Year.

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