Winter is still as sharp as a knife in Vermont. In these weird eerie days of decline it has traded in its slow, steady grinding strength for something else. Winter is unpredictable, striking then sneaking away, hiding in the bushes while weird heat waves remove the blanket of snow, then stabbing from behind a bare maple tree. Sometimes it jumps on in a dogpile, every bit as fierce as the old-time winters, but more desperate and growling with its vortices.

I remember the first time i heard that growl in a storm, the feeling of eerie wrongness. Perhaps it is just my perception, an internal realization about the true way nature responds to human behavior… or maybe something more. It was in the first storm of the great winter of 2004-2005 on the southern California coast. Driving home from a disorienting October visit to the Bay area, into squalls where it felt like the wind was throwing rain at the window in anger, alone on some highway in the pitch black of relative wilderness. There was something different, a force. It’s been there amidst the gusts of many storms since. It is even there in the knife-like cold of this clear night, cold-air-drainage north wind moving my steamy breath from north to south across our driveway. Neko Case drifts into my head from a few valleys over, “The blizzard blows from left to right, Which is funny cause the piano’s playing “Summertime””. “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight.” For the time being at least. Fight and flight at the same time. How wonderful would it feel to be buried in the cold and snows of a record hard winter, absorb my thoughts with bringing in wood through the drifts and walking the bounds of our little field in snowshoes, bury in snow the howling winds of dying empire and planetwide atmosphere ripping to equilibrium through our fragile homes and lives?

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