Vermont in the winter

I have an aunt who is only six years older than I am.  We didn’t grow up spending a lot of time together, but we always had this connection.  Even now we will go months and months without talking, then one of us will call, and we’ll end up on the phone for two hours. That’s actually part of the reason I don’t call her very often – I know it will be a LONG conversation.

She lives in Vermont with her husband, only a short drive from Canada.  The youngest of their three boys just went off to college in September, which I find impossible to believe, since I changed diapers for all three.  They are country folk, living on about 100 acres of woodland on a dirt road.  Every few years we’ll head up there to visit and winter is our favorite time.  Summer has its own beauty, but the winters are breathtaking.  The current header picture on my blog now is a picture I took of a winter sunrise at their house.  I had to crop it for the header, but the whole picture is this:

picsthruMarch09 099

Isn’t that just amazing?  I am normally NEVER awake for a sunrise, but E was sick (isn’t it nice to visit relatives and have one of your kids get sick?) so I was up on and off with her all night, and managed to be awake when the sun started peeping over the ridge. Nice back yard huh?

picsthruMarch09 087   picsthruMarch09 076

Anyway, along with the breathtaking scenery is an “ease” I feel while I’m there.  Winter or summer we can just let the kids go outside without needing to be right on top of them.  No neighbors close by, no traffic (dirt road remember?) certainly no strangers – perhaps we might be worried about a bear or two in the summer, but they sleep in the winter, so we’re good.  They have a LONG driveway that is sloped, which is the absolute perfect run for a sled, and for my husband and oldest there are ski resorts close for skiing (I do NOT ski & G won’t have any part of it, J still isn’t sure, although hub is going to try his best this winter to get him on skis).

Best of all, as luck would have it, my aunt works with autistic children for a living.  Yep.  My very own family expert.  And she started working in special education even before G was born.  So when we go visit I can relax, knowing I don’t have to explain anything.  My aunt just “gets it.”  That is a tremendous gift.

Other than family togetherness and being with people who “get” my kid, there is something about Vermont in the winter, besides the beauty, that attracts me.  I know it isn’t this way everywhere in the state, but since my experience is where they live, well, that’s my experience of Vermont.  Anyway the something that attracts me is the QUIET.  When the kids are asleep, the quiet is complete.  It makes the turning on of the refrigerator sound like a freight train.  Quiet and still and peaceful.  Even during the day when the kids play outside, they could be at the top of the driveway well in view, and I can’t hear them.  The expanse of the space around us just swallows up whatever squeals of delight (or fits of anger) they’re making until they get pretty close to the house.

My uncle took my husband and I snowshoeing once and it was transformative for both of us.  All we could hear were the snowshoes crunching in the snow and our breathing (which was loud and labored).  Want a good workout?  Go snowshoeing – I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

My impression of Vermont is quiet, still, peaceful, and white with snow.  Not a lot of brown sandy snow from the plows where they live – oh they plow, but the plows just move the snow out of the way – after all, they live on a dirt road already so the sand is there, it’s just frozen solid till the spring.

It’s been about two years since we’ve gone up to see them, and we’re hoping to get back up there next month when the kids have vacation.  I sure hope we do – it’s such a beautiful place that holds wonderful memories, even when a kid gets sick…

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