Here in Vermont, we usually see the first snow sometime in October. It's late this year, now only a week from Thanksgiving, and we're finally seeing the first accumulating snow. In New Jersey, where we lived until about seven years ago, we'd usually see the first snowflakes a week or so before Thanksgiving. I could be back in New Jersey on this schedule. Not much difference. Except for the mountains. The untouched woods. The vast silences - and by the way, we only have those vast silences because it's November. The tourists, no longer lured by colorful leaves or the warmth of summer, have fled to spots where shopping malls and milder weather offer a plethora of activities.
I always feel a little torn about the tourists. I personally prefer they not be here, and yet I know that the state economy and the livelihood of many of my neighbors depends on visitors. So I try to be welcoming when I'm tailgated by people with out-of-state tags, or when I watch them bully their servers in locals restaurant or clog my favorite trails. They are necessary to Vermont. Still, in November I no longer have to be torn. The annual departure of visitors is not my fault or my responsibility. With their absence, peace has again descended.
We may flee too. My husband, who is in fact better at adulting than I am and who grew up in Florida, likes snow for skiing but otherwise detests it. We made an agreement when we moved to Vermont. We would spend most of the year here but for the months of January and February, we'd pack up our things and head for someplace warmer - with palm trees. Last year, we stayed put for the reasons that everyone stayed put - and also that we had a 17 year old cat who had kidney diesase would not do well traveling. Our Lizzie died in May, we have our vaccines, and this year, we're discussing going. But we haven't made a decision. I'm hoping for at least one or two big snows - where I can put on my boots and wade through drifts to gaze at the white topped trees in the woods that surround my house.
Writers tend to base characters on people they know. The protagonist of my thrillers, Kolya Petrov, a Russian Jewish immigrant to the United States and intelligence operative, has quite a few of my husband's characteristics. But he has my love of snow and is not crazy about heat. I'll take him with me on my walks through the silent woods of winter. Maybe it'll help me figure out the plot to my next book.
Let it snow.