The wooded landscape has been transformed into a winter wonderland..
Everything is caked in sparkling snow. As you look closer, you notice the snapped trunks of the red pines, the fallen limbs of the white pines, the birches and beeches that have bent to the ground under the burden of ice and snow. The sky is a threatening grey.
Most painful to me is the damage to a relatively healthy elm; most of the top branches have broken, and doubt it can be saved. At least it won’t go to waster; we’ll cut it up and use it to keep warm next winter, maybe during a power outage, when our small wood stove is our only source of heat.
Speaking of power, I’m so grateful to the line crews that have worked for days to restore electric power to our communities, sometimes multiple times. We were without power from Wednesday night through last night, with a couple-hours of service on Thursday afternoon. For three days, we had no central heat, no running water, no phone service, no Internet access! We had our cell phones (not smartphones), but rationed their usage for contacting Green Mountain Power’s outage center, and for emergencies.
It was fun to cook creatively on the wood stove, eating down the food that we didn’t want to lose from the fridge and freezer. The pizza dough that Jamie made for Wednesday night turned into flatbread. Sausages and oatmeal, french toast and bacon, we definitely worked the breakfast theme.
I was really intrigued by the way our daily rhythms changed. We went to bed early — 7:30 pm early — feeling very tired, and awoke at 5 or 5:30 and set about getting the wood fire going again. I think there is something restorative about living in a way that reflects the changes in daylight. I know we’re going to return to the work-drive schedule of the modern world, but I may try to be more aware of how the diminished light affects my level of activity.
Now we need to replenish our emergency supplies, and give some thought to ways to work around some of the more difficult parts of this outage.