By Judi Platt / Photos by Andy Eastman
Another season has slipped into our reality. Wasn’t it just days ago that we were walking the Lake Trail with leaves crunching beneath our feet, admiring the tapestry of colors across the water? A few days ago when we were inviting thoughts of taking the kayaks out one more time into our heads? Yes, a new season has slipped in and cloaked the coves in white.
Winter transforms Eastman into a tranquil commune of hardy inhabitants—ones who, hooded and gloved, walk with a determination to outpace their breath freezing in waves that float above the frozen fire lanes, or who strap on snowshoes or skinny skis to explore the woods and trails that make one forget that, yes, I-89 is nearby. The murmur of the distant traffic fills the void left by our feathered residents that joined some of our neighbors in their migration to warmer climes. But it’s just white noise in this sylvan storyland¬—white like everything else today.
The golf course is an array of tracks from those gliding from tee to tee instead of chasing around little white balls. There are no moguls on these slopes, but soon the frost heaves on Route 10 will mimic the speed bumps on Road Round the Lake. The remnants of Snow Hill are still untouched, but maybe soon a few intrepid riders will furrow its downy cover.
Smoke billows from chimneys everywhere in Eastman, and the woodpiles begin to lose their perfect cubic contours of just a few weeks ago. All around my nearby coves, there is an aura of solitude broken only by the lights that go on, one by one, as day subsides. Lights that reflect on the frozen waters and the whiteness all around. Lights that remind us that, yes, hearty souls live in Eastman—ones who pass the test of another winter in New England.
As I bundle up and make my way along not-so-dry-and-not-so-smooth roads, I revel in the reality that I am not a visitor who will pack up and seek an easier season to embrace me. I may miss the loons when I walk around the lake, but I now can see clearly through the trees to the other side—and that, in itself, is meaningful in this monochromatic world. It may be my favorite season in Eastman. It keeps me grounded in who I am and why I’m here.