Temperatures hover in the single digits, and last week yet another nor’easter blew in a foot of snow.
Ice clings to rooftops and roads, and ponds are frozen over, perfect for skating, if we can brave the cold.
“There is no such thing as bad weather; the good Lord simply sends us different kinds of good weather,” said nineteenth-century English writer and art critic John Ruskin.
Driving to the summer house, I try to forget the intense, bone-chilling cold and 30-mile-an-hour wind gusts. Instead I notice all the good things around me – sun on ice making trees and houses sparkle light diamonds, the smell of wood smoke in the air, tiny footprints in the snow, the quiet…
“One reason for the beauty of New England has always been the architecture, for the houses and churches were built to fit the land and the climate,” said Gladys Taber, who wrote from her seventeenth-century farmhouse on forty acres in rural Connecticut. “The steep pitch of roofs shed heavy snow, low eaves shed the melt easily, and the small-paned windows kept out the bitter cold, as did the low-hung doors. The houses were as staunch as the sailing ships that went out from Gloucester, New Bedford, Provincetown.”
We stop for breakfast at The Black Goose, which overlooks Nanaquaket Pond. A fishing boat is stuck in the middle of an Olympic-sized, saltwater ice rink. The fisherman has no need to row out to his vessel; he can walk.
At the summer house we drive into the backyard, expecting a world of white; but what we find is desert landscape. Snow lies beneath layers of sand whipped by heavy winds from the sand flats in the nature preserve and saltmarsh. I have lived here since childhood, and I cannot remember sand dunes in our yard in the middle of winter.
I stay in the truck to avoid being pelted by sand. The summer house, covered in snow, is an igloo, hibernating and waiting patiently for spring.
The farmland behind our property is filled with thousands of geese, seeking sanctuary from the unforgiving winds and sand. They hover together in the fields, a giant shorebird reunion.
We drive along the beach, following the rime that has encrusted the shoreline. The waves are angry, battling ice floes that try to take shape in vain, doomed to lie broken on the rocky shore.
Then the sun breaks through the dark gray clouds and fills the truck cabin with light and warmth.
Inspired, I reach into my bag with cold fingers, pull out a pad and begin to write…
It’s all good.