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Winter Walk

03/18/08 5:55PM By Ruth Page
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(HOST) Just over a week ago, Vermont was digging out from yet another significant winter storm, but commentator Ruth Page found beauty in the aftermath.

(PAGE) As I write this on March 11th, Vermont is still reeling from a winter storm that brought plenty of snow and wind, followed by ice, and then power blackouts. But today the storm is over, the sun is shining in a deep blue sky, and the northwest wind is turning to southwest, so the night's bitter temperatures are now in the low 30's and rising.

What's not to like? So I put on my hiking boots, siezed dark glasses and a two-layered hat, grabbed a ski-pole, so I could walk on nearby unsalted roads, and sallied forth.

The trees lining our hillside road were radiant. Slender branches on the smaller ones were coated with ice, glittering and sparkling in the sun's brilliance. Young birches were bowing deeply to the winter gods, their narrow ice-clad limbs alight with the coruscating brillianc of perfect diamonds. The sturdy, very tall trees still had some ice on their lower branches, but their slim, twiggy tops were completely decorated, as if for a thrilling holiday. They loked like huge bouquets of diamond feathers. "Glorious" was the only adequate word. Each twig-group had become a huge spray of diamonds fit to adorn a goddess; every facet winked with light, and they were so high on the trees, their sparkle flashed against the deep blue of the sky. I'm not a very good photographer, but today it didn't matter. No one could capture the scene; it would be like trying to photograph a million tiny lightnings.

As I moved very carefully along glare ice underfoot, I thought how typical of Vermont to top all the recent weather in this way. For the previous three weeks, the weathermen had been able to predict, with perfect confidence, rain, snow, sunshine, morning fog, breezes, strong winds, and calm, sunny days. On several days, it was cold and snowing in the morning but sunny and inviting by mid-afternoon. We had all the weather varieties, sometimes several in a single day. Pretty hard to go wrong in a weather prediction in northern New England these days. Sometimes the brief weather predictions in the newspaper inform the astonished reader that the day will be desparately cold, very windy, with rain, snow, hail, and some sunny breaks, finally ending with a sleet storm. How do you dress for that?

We shouldn't be so selfish with our weather. We should share it. Surely some dull places, like the Southwest, with its exhausting droughts, would be grateful for a truckload or two of our quick-change weather.
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