It’s February, and the sledding hill on the west side of town is naked. The Battenkill River that runs west from the center of Arlington, Vermont to the New York line has been frozen for only a few days this winter. It’s the second year in a row in which winter hasn’t really felt like winter but more like a long clouding, mud season. Grey prevails today, lulling us into our individual reveries as we drive about our Saturday routine.
Then as we drive home, turning back onto the road that runs along the Battenkill, the park and adjacent outdoor ice rink come into view. A shock of white now rises over the river. As we get closer, we realized the white is ice and snow covering the trees on the river bank. The ice doesn’t cover everything – it only coated a small clump of trees – but the covering was so thick and sugary in appearance, that if looked like someone had sculpted it.
The sky is still overcast and grey, but now, roused out of our apathy, the flat light seems to throw everything into stark relief. A stop by the park has suddenly become an impromptu visit to an art museum, and we continue on home, suddenly aware of the other exhibits around us.