Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Update, or, Speaking of Snow and a Little 10th-Grade-English Refresher

Several commenters recently have taken a position on snow. Mine varies. This weekend, the snow was definitely a good thing. I was up at my Holy Mountain, Jay Peak, first thing Saturday morning. Beautiful, no? Unfortunately, fluffy, pristine snow, and clear days in January around here often also portend brutal cold. It was -15 F with a stiffish breeze when I got out to take my mountain walk at 7:30 AM. I spent a minute or two actually worried that I might have done some disfiguring damage to my nose and cheeks as I headed into that breeze to get to this:

Fortunately, as ever, once I got going the woods cut the wind and my blood got flowing and no body parts were permanently damaged. It was so beautiful, it reminded me of poetry; specifically, the figures of speech we were supposed to learn in English 10A. Do you remember "synechdoche?" I recalled that it involved using a part of something as a stand-in for the whole: as in "all hands on deck." So, if I were writing a poem about people (of both sexes) suffering a freezing walk in the woods, I might say "every pair was frozen." Sorry. That's crude, but perhaps partially redeemed by educational value? I was also reminded of the poetic device known as assonance. This is, as per the Wikipedia definition (if you don't want to click through), "repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences, and together with alliteration and consonance serves as one of the building blocks of verse." The Wikipedia example was "Do you like blue?" (The "oo" sound is assonant). The assonant phrase that kept recurring to me was: "chapped ass." (Note the assonant short "a" sound here). Sorry, also crude, but when you turn your back to the freezing wind in the beautiful woods it's hard not to resort to poetry.

Later in the day, things warmed slightly and the kids and their friends went slding here at the farm in a beautiful afternoon glow.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Sunday was the opening day of the kids' school ski program down at Stowe Mountain Resort. It was my first time at that most famous of Vermont ski areas and I have to say it was astonishingly nice. They have just finished a huge new luxury lodge at Spruce Peak and every thing has been done to a very high standard completely atypical of the uncercapitalized ventures we generally have in poor northern New England. This is Vail in Vermont. To their credit, the mountain basically lets the local school kids and their instructors ski for free. The kids had a great time skiing while I hung out with some other Moms in the fabulous "great room" of the new cafeteria - although it was not like any cafeteria I had ever been in. I stupidly forgot my camera. More on this anon.