An Unexpected Snowy Morning in Vermont


With my eyes half open and my brain not quite alert I clumsily feel around my bed for the ringing phone. I find a fork, a plate, a whole bunch of crumbs, a dog toy and a computer before I locate the source of the noise.  Ah, the life of a single girl. I squint at the light emanating from the screen, my sleepy eyes shocked by the brightness. The number reads (411)000-0000. What is this? A telemarketer? The collection agency I’ve been dutifully avoiding? At this hour, that makes no sense. I question whether to answer at all when it hits me. This number could mean only one thing. I answer,

“Due to inclement weather and road conditions, school has been cancelled for today.”

It may as well be been God calling. A snow day! 

Excitement wriggles through my veins like that of a child instead of a teacher. Rosie, my black and white spotted, Tasmanian Devil of a dog, watches me from her bed in the kitchen. Itching to see what Mother Nature delivered, I bundle up, leash up Rosie, and step outside into the wintry Vermont morning.

The deserted street is blanketed in white. Cars are invisible under the piles of snow, and tree branches hang heavy, threatening to snap. The cloud filled sky is dropping thick, wet flakes that land soundlessly on every surface. I hear the plow before I see it, scraping the road in a futile attempt to remove the snow before more accumulates.

Rosie is in heaven. She shoves her head into the powdery snow and excitedly looks up, urging me to join her in this activity. She is not sure what to make of the newly defined landscape. She darts back and forth at the end of the leash deciding where to go next, as all her usual smells have been enveloped by the snow. Looking up, she scans the trees for a sign of life to chase, but nothing.

Watching Rosie and the empty street, I realize I should have dressed a bit warmer. The wind rips through my layers and the snowflakes pelt my face, turning to freezing water once they land on my skin. It is probably best to start walking rather than stand, motionless, exposing myself to the frosty elements. Slowly and cautiously I head west, toward Lake Champlain, down the un-shoveled sidewalk. I turn right onto Church Street, the normally bustling-pedestrian-promenade. Here I am protected from the wind, in a tunnel of restaurants, boutiques, bars and coffee shops. The snow is untouched and I have to lift my foot high to traipse through the 8 or so inches that have already fallen.

Rosie and I make fresh tracks as we work our way up the slightly inclined promenade. Mine uniform, hers scattered. We pass by the frosted store window of Sweet Lady Jane where I spend too much of my money on earrings and sweaters. Past upscale Leunigs, a French Bistro where the only thing I can afford to eat is breakfast. The OGE, an outdoor gear enthusiasts paradise. And through the line up of bars, Half Lounge, Red Square, RiRa, places I frequent far too regularly.

At the top of the street I pause. To the left is the lake- the Adirondack Mountains hidden behind a curtain of snow. To the right a steep climb up to the University. I stand at the top of Church Street and look down on this small part of my city that has been transformed overnight.  The snow absorbs all sound and the flakes continue to fall, white and pure, on every surface. In this brief moment the world is put on hold and I appreciate the beauty that surrounds me on this unexpected snowy morning in Vermont.

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