riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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A Former Angeleno’s Take on Winter

Before moving to upstate New York (and once I got here), the main question people asked me was, “Have you ever lived through a winter there?” It seemed to be the main concern. I shrugged it off, “No, but I grew up on the East Coast and lived in Vermont for four weeks in January. I’ll be fine!”

But I was a bit apprehensive.

Living in Los Angeles, a city that fluctuates between warm and hot, for 19 years was long enough to thin my blood. I became one of those people who shivered when it was 60 degrees out, and froze when it was below 50. I had visited the East Coast in wintertime, and even seen some snow in Joshua Tree Desert once, but it was fleeting (and freezing).

I tried to mentally prepare myself for winter by reading three winter-based books last fall: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (star-crossed lovers try to kill themselves by sledding into a tree), The Half-Skinned Steer by Annie Proulx (old man gets lost and freezes in Wyoming blizzard), and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (two sisters – one a murderer – struggle to survive in old, haunted, cold New England mansion). BRRRR!!!

Then the first major storm hit New York in mid-November, dumping 5-7 feet of snow on Buffalo (a nightmare). But where I live, 350 miles to the East, we got nothing.

Since then, we’ve had snowfalls of several inches and temperatures low enough to freeze an entire lake. This is pretty mild compared to what it could be. People keep telling me the worst is still to come. To which I say, BRING IT.

As it turns out, I have sort of fallen in love with winter.

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I live in a rural area, which is different than living in a city, and if I had to drive to work, I might feel differently (to be fair, they clear the roads pretty quickly here, even the smaller country roads). But I think winter is gorgeous.

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The patterns, textures, skies and colors… I haven’t experienced it in such a long time, I’m actually fascinated by the fact that everything nearly dies, or seems to die but actually doesn’t. It reminds me of the desert in the way it’s so harsh, but still teaming with life.

back yard jewelsdrew drops

The beauty of seasons, something I used to miss in LA, is that they are literally Nature at work. They’re also a marking of time. When you live in an area that’s sort of the same every day, you can wake up one day and suddenly realize six months have gone by and you hardly even noticed.

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I still can’t handle being cold so I am EXTREMELY bundled up when I go outside. I wear at least two of everything and lots of thick cotton, wool, down and silk, which is very warm. For extra cold days, I wear a fur babushka hat over my normal hat. I look ridiculous, but it keeps me cozy even though it’s freezing. I still read outside, take long walks, hike, and do everything I did before except ride the motorcycle.

babushka hat

Perhaps the biggest reason I’m enjoying winter, though, is Ruby. We spend no less than two hours outside every day, and her joy is absolutely contagious.

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The big open space above is the frozen lake, btw.

ruby in blankets

If you live in a big city and have warm clothing, I highly recommend going outside, even in the cold. Take a walk to the nearest park, river or lake, enjoy the fresh air. There are still a few birds singing. How they survive the temperatures, I have no idea, but it’s lovely to hear them.

tree lattice

I am very much looking forward to seeing spring. In the meantime, I hope you’re able to enjoy winter’s beauty… and of course, stay safe and warm.

Peace and light.


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Room with a View

Some images from Vermont.

My room is on the corner of the building, so I face the street and the sunrise.

Left window view

Left window view

Right window view

Right window view

The image I woke up to this morning. Icicles and a pink sky.

Icicles at sunrise

Icicles at sunrise

This is the road I drive every day to visit the puppy. It’s less plowed than the other roads.

Mountain road, late afternoon

Mountain road, late afternoon

Mountains w:truck
snow

Still working on getting settled in my office, so pics of that later.

I’m loving the snow and cold so far. It’s bringing back many memories of growing up near Philadelphia, going sledding, shoveling snow, “snow days”. But I’ll save that for another post.

Hope everyone is good. Happy Tuesday!