I’d been living in California, where a phrase like “it’s freezing” merely meant a mad rush to get the warmest sweater possible. So when I told my friends I was moving to Vermont, they warned me it would be cold, really cold. I could handle “cold,” I told them.
They weren’t convinced. They told me that in Vermont it snows in May. I laughed, thinking I knew a silly exaggeration when I heard one. Our first winter here was the coldest Vermont had had in 21 years. The next was the coldest in 22 years.
So I developed a strategy for staying warm. I dressed in tons of layers: tank-top, t-shirt, flannel shirt, long johns, lined jeans, sweater, jacket, hat, gloves, and scarf. And if it dipped below 50 degrees, I just added more layers.
I made time to ski, snowshoe, and take long walks outside. And because I refused to let the weather rule my mood, the indoor tennis gym became my friend and I took up Zumba. Now I’m a Zumba instructor. Staying home with Netflix and cocoa helped, too at times - just not exclusively.
Then, just as I’d figured out how to survive winter, spring arrived, which I learned in Vermont is all about melting and mud and sunshine, and then hail, and then some more sunshine, and a whole lot more mud, making April, if not quite the cruelest month, as T.S. Eliot would have it, at least unsettling.
But Vermont is now my home – for 17 years and counting. And that’s partly because I couldn’t change the harsh weather; but I could change my attitude. By embracing what Vermont and life was handing me, I became happier. For me, not having a choice gave me the opportunity to just say “yes,” even to the crazy weather swings.
After moving to Vermont, winter became my favorite season. And it still is. And oh, that the first year we moved to Vermont, I went skiing at Killington on May 10th.