For ten years I lived in the tiny village of Danville, in Caledonia County, located in what is known as the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It’s some 35 miles from the Canadian border and perhaps 15 miles to the New Hampshire border. Some people call it Little Siberia.
Paperweight swirls build Knee-deep drifts by the door. At dawn I carry steaming buckets to sheep breaking a path through frozen light; drop sweet bales from the haymow to hungry beasts thankful for shelter against the cold; collect warm eggs from hens huddled in the corner of the coop; carry splits of oak and ash to the stove slowly warming the kitchen where my children squabble over match box trucks and whose turn it is to do what. Toast rinds and spilled oatmeal grace the table. Later I’ll banish them to make angel in their own image; build forts for frozen knights armed with wilted carrot noses. I’ll watch from the window kneading in fevered winter frustration, while evening grosbeaks mob the feeder stoking their furnaces to warm them through the coming night. I’ll sit in gray afternoon light, seed catalogues before me, ordering lush tomatoes, pole beans and pink melons; yearn for spring asparagus, strawberries for pie; dreams that warm me as I trudge sloshing water to sheep jostling to be first in line for the evening feed.