Letter From This Week Which Isn’t Soon Enough But Has To Do For Now.

It’s snowing outside and I have to leave the warm office bedroom I’ve created for myself in this cavernous, drafty apartment, to get coffee and eggs, somehow. Thick piles of fluffy snow line the streets, which appear to be clearing, though the snow still falls. I spoke to my Aunt Priscilla, up in Rangeley, ME, and she asked, “You know my rose trellis gate to my vegetable garden?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“I can’t see it.”

The snow banks in her yard are over 10 feet high. “Driving around here feels like you’re driving in tunnels,” she said.

Instantly, I thought of the ski area near her, Saddleback Mountain in Maine. I’ve skied there over the last 32 years with my family. There are trails there that haven’t had enough snow to be open in over 20 years. Located in the Western corner of the state, near the borders of Canada, Vermont and New Hampshire, there are days when you can see into all three.

I spoke to my sister on the phone, as she, as she put it, “staged for Hawaii”. She’s joining my brother’s family there next week for a vacation. I told her what was happening. “You have to go,” she said. “Oh my God, I’m so jealous.”

“I have to go,” I said.

“You have to go. It’s like your responsibility to our family or something.”

“I’ll take pictures.”

“I’m so jealous.”

For now I’m here, reflecting on how I feel like my whole life I’ve just been watching the US turn into a sort of deepening enormous mine for the very rich, with democratic ideals subverted in the name of triumphalist capitalism at every turn, and good people undone repeatedly because they believed liars. At some point I’ll get my boots on and trudge into town for eggs and coffee, and then work on this novel, and check in with my friend Meredith about whether we’ll brave the snow for the Yankee Rowing club meeting, where we’ll watch rowing videos. But in my heart, of course, I’ll be on the top of Saddleback the whole time.

I get there on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll wear a shamrock on my ski helmet (I’m Irish, too).


  1. I’m part Irish, too (the Harney clan).

    On Friday, the combination of brilliant sun and lots of snow cover in the Boston area made me long for skiing with my (birth) family, which I haven’t done in at least 8 years. That day, my sister Emily wrote me unexpectedly from Maine, where she is skiing with her spouse, and remarked on the “perfect snow day.”

    It’s impossible to get over skiing, and skiing with your sibs and folks.

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