Jessie Raymond: Feelings mixed about precipitation

If this were a typical Vermont winter, I’d be reaching my breaking point right about now. By January I start to feel like people are going out of their way to annoy me by, for example, cutting me off in traffic or being married to me. I can’t help it; it’s hard to be pleasant when it’s dark all the time and I can no longer maintain a core body temperature above 90 degrees.
But this winter has hardly been typical.
Given that November and December were mostly sunny and uncharacteristically warm, my usual Seasonal Affective Rage hasn’t kicked in. I can’t get over how gentle the weather has been overall.
Friday night I got into my car, shivering, and said, “Brr, it’s cold,” and then started to giggle as I checked the temperature: 19. Last January, if the thermometer had ever climbed to double digits, I would have danced around outside in a bikini. (Well, I would have walked more than danced, because of the danger of slipping on ice, and I would have worn something more suitable for my age, perhaps a cap-sleeve tee and some tasteful culottes. But you get the point.)
Winter sports enthusiasts and people who depend on snow tourism for their livelihood might be shredding their down parkas with their teeth by now, but I for one have been downright pleased with the weather. My toes haven’t gone numb even once. This is my kind of winter.
Which makes what happened last week all the more appalling.
Last Tuesday I started seeing weather alerts warning of a massive blizzard heading East. I instinctively went into prep mode, stocking up on everything I’d need (mostly yarn and tea) in case a prolonged storm kept us cooped up for days. I baked bread and put on a big pot of soup, because nothing feels as cozy as eating a hot, homemade meal in a warm house when the winds are howling and the snow makes the roads impassable.
But then I watched the weather reports more closely. All the computer models agreed: The blizzard was tracking far south of us.
A woman who truly despises winter would have jumped around the living room and cheered at Vermont’s good luck. Instead, I felt cheated. This blizzard should have been ours.
What is wrong with me?
I have a large contingent of relatives in and around Maryland. Thursday night, they started posting pictures online of the accumulating snow. A cousin in Washington, D.C., posted not one but two videos of giant plow trucks getting stuck in snow on the city streets. I looked out my window at the bare Vermont road and shook my head.
By Friday night, my Facebook feed was filled with family pictures of yardsticks nearly buried in snow and gleeful children frolicking in deep drifts.
“Eating homemade chili and watching the snow come down,” a cousin in Baltimore wrote, adding, “Two feet so far and we haven’t seen a plow on our street yet.” Braggart.
I’m conflicted. Winter is my least favorite season. I dislike skidding off my porch steps day after day. I get tired of my default position: tucked into a corner of the couch, curled up in a ball to conserve heat, like a squirrel. The darkness, the wind, the discomfort, the inconvenience of travel and, most of all, the duration of the cold — it gets to me.
In spite of that, I spent last weekend envying my southern relatives, who just kept going online to update snow totals and gush about how delightful it was to have their lives put on hold for a day or two with nothing to do but enjoy the pretty snow and snuggle with their loved ones.
“Snowbound!” a third cousin wrote, punctuating her post with a series of hot cocoa and snowflake emojis.
“GOOD FOR YOU,” I replied, and promptly unfriended her.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the kiddie version of winter we’ve been experiencing. But I guess deep down I like the occasional disruption of a debilitating snowstorm to break up the monotony.
“This is Vermont,” I wailed to my husband. “When are we gonna get a blizzard?”
“Don’t worry,” he said, glancing up at the gray sky. “Winter’s not over by a long shot.”
I sure hope he’s right.

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