Jan 29 2009

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Yankee Blue Skies

Posted at 10:57 am under Blog Post

While slogging along a snowmobile trail the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the sun smiling overhead.  It shined brightly in the middle of a deep blue sky – the kind we see here in Vermont when dry, arctic air blows our way.  Yankee blue, I call it.  There’s no equivalent in the Midwest where I grew up.  Skies so blue that it’s hard to believe that they’ll ever turn gray again.

Sometimes the snow is so bright white that you can’t help but love it.  Enough warmth radiates from the sun to make you believe that the worst of winter has passed.  And as long as you have your back to the wind, life is good.

Yesterday it snowed all day long.  I went out and shoveled it for a while, drank hot chocolate indoors at lunchtime, then went out and shoveled again.  My dog, Matika, romped in the snow piles undoing some of my work.  I didn’t care.  Neither did my octogenarian neighbor, Scout, who was happy to shovel away most of the day.  Vermonters like to brag about how cold it is in early morning when they go out to start their cars, and how high their snow piles are.  No sense fighting it.  After a while, the cold and snow simply become a way of life.

Is the cup half empty or half full?  That’s an age-old question whose answer reveals more about the person answering than what’s actually in the cup.  At first we respond to the weather, the seasons, and everything else by passing judgment on it.  Then, if we have any sense at all, we let go of that judgment and learn to live with what has been cast our way, maybe even finding joy in it.  Few circumstances in life are truly tragic: war, famine, pestilence, and that other dark horseman.  The rest is merely challenging, like the frigid wind icing over your face or the foot of snow that has to be pushed from your driveway.

I am one of those people who usually takes a dark view of things, who looks at the cup and sees what’s missing, not what’s there.  But every once in a while, I find myself enjoying my labors, even when chilled by my own sweat and running the risk of frostbite. The best part of my walk the other day occurred when I turned towards the wind, my face freezing all the way back to the car.  The best part of shoveling snow is the ache in my lower back afterward.  How can I explain this?  I can’t really.  All I can say is that sometimes adversity is good for the soul.  And when on occasion there are Yankee blue skies overhead, it all seems worthwhile.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Yankee Blue Skies”

  1. Ron Wilsonon 29 Jan 2009 at 12:07 pm 1

    For too many years I also held mostly negative thoughts for mostly everything. Over time, the habit disappeared and I now realize the fading began when I started my work in animal hospice, caring for those voiceless creatures in the process of passing. Such dignity and patience they had and, thinking back over their lives, I saw how every day for the most part was filled with happiness. That, in turn, helped me appreciate Nature all the more. How can things be really so bad when Nature is so good and avaiable for the asking? Glasses can be half full or half empty, yes. A little fantasy manipulation will bring you a glass half full…twice!

  2. Walton 30 Jan 2009 at 10:50 am 2

    Thanks for sharing your story, Ron. It definitely provides food for thought.