I woke up to the sound of the snow plow going past the house this morning. White flakes have been slowly and gently falling from the sky all night. I’m sure that it was not the first time the plow passed by my window this morning, but it was the first time I heard it: 7:43 am.
The ground is white again–as it should be in January in Vermont. Perhaps I am selfish loving and longing for snow to cover the ground for a full quarter of the year, or more. After all, I don’t have to drive in it, as so many people do even here in Vermont where having a day job is still the status quo. But there aren’t many jobs in this corner of Vermont and I doubt anyone has moved here for work.
Let this be fair warning: If you think you might want to move here, you probably don’t. Here’s why:
- -30°F days in winter
- Cloudiest and wettest part of the country after the Portland/Seattle area
- No jobs
Is that enough to scare you off? If not, don’t worry. I’ll point out more of the downsides to a Vermont life as the year goes on.
When the ground is white and the flakes are falling from the sky and I am cozy in my wood-heated house drinking coffee and observing winter through the window, it is indeed a wonderland. I wonder that I live here! When I moved away from New York in early ’80s, I swore I would never again live anywhere that required wearing a coat and hat and boots and gloves and a scarf just to go to the mailbox. I didn’t want to wear layers of tights and socks and thermal underwear and sweaters.
I wanted blue skies and black roads every day of the year. And roses at Thanksgiving! And bright colors in December! Oh the bright ice plant and flamboyant birds of paradise that decorate a San Diego “winter”! But I never got used to wearing shorts during the holidays, and eventually the sun started getting on my nerves.
I missed real seasons (which, contrary to popular belief, don’t exist even in Colorado). Winter, spring, summer, fall. Rinse and repeat. The weather changes matching the dates of the seasons marked on my calendar; the solstices and equinoxes are not theoretical only, but clear demarcations of the segments of the year. With seasons, the cycles of time are so much stronger, so much more obvious. This way of life, it turns out, suits me.
I don’t have to do the things that stopped my mother from moving to Vermont in the 1970s. My husband removes the snow from the porch roof when necessary. His tools and toys clear the driveway (in the three years we’ve been here, he’s upgraded from a shovel to a snow blower to a plow). We buy our wood already chopped and split. And we have a backup oil furnace. We don’t commute (or even leave the house) for work. We had enough equity built up to buy a house for cash. We have no children to worry about.
So I can sit on one of the five couches in my house (I am a true couch potato and don’t even have a desk for work) and sip on my coffee and watch the flakes fluttering in the sky and be happy isolated in my house all winter long.
This is my Vermont.