Coming to Terms with Winter

In Vermont, unlike a lot of places, the arrival of winter is something to celebrate. This place we love is always beautiful but, perhaps, never more so than when it is covered in freshly fallen snow with the sun high and bright in an endless blue sky. You don’t even have to be a skier to find those days… what is the word?

“Heavenly.” That works.

Furthermore, Vermont has come to terms with winter. We will see, for sure, scenes on the television this winter from places like Washington, DC or Atlanta, Georgia where, after what we would consider a mild snowfall, the roads don’t get plowed and the parked cars get buried when the plows do finally come out. Where the schools are closed and people don’t report for work. All because of a little snow.

In Vermont, when the snow falls, the plows are out in force as soon as the last flake settles. Before long, traffic is back to normal, schools open and people go to work. When we get a storm that’s tough even by Vermont standards, people just look outside and think, “Good news for the ski mountains.”

I’m from the South, so it took a while for me to “get” Vermont’s winters. And I still have my days. I could stand a little more sunlight and fewer of those days when the temperature plummets. But I, like every Vermonter, have learned how to dress for the cold.

But … this time of year goes by another name, too. That would be “cold and flu season.” People get sick from time to time. Most of us do the flu shots and we wash our hands almost obsessively and use sanitizer when a sink isn’t handy. We take Vitamin C. We try to get a good night’s sleep. All to keep from getting sick.

But sometimes it either doesn’t work or we forget about one or more of those precautions. People get sick. It happens.

And when it does happen, here’s my advice: STAY IN BED.

How much more lovely would a winter in Vermont (or anywhere else) be if you could get through it without ever getting a cold or the flu. It—a solid year of wellness—happened to me last year and I’m here to testify … it is a wonderful thing.

Still, I keep finding myself in rooms with someone who should be in bed getting well but seems to believe that the noble thing is to tough it out and get on about life.


Everyone knows (or should) that you’ll be back in full trim much sooner if you just take a day off and stay in bed. Sleep, drink plenty of fluids, let your body’s wonderful healing and germ fighting mechanisms do their thing.

You will be doing yourself a favor and the rest of us an even bigger one.

To give you a further incentive to stay in bed and get well when you come down with a cold or the flu, I will give you a tip, right here.

Chicken soup.

I know, I know. That is not exactly a secret or original. Maybe not, but it is true. The New York Times reports that medical researchers have found that chicken soup does actually have properties that help fight off the effects of a cold and hurry you along to getting well and feeling better. According to the article, they are not entirely sure why this is so, but they are working on it.

I don’t know, either. I just know it works and that it works even better if your make your soup stock yourself.

Chicken soup always tastes great, but never better than when you are sick in bed, taking a day off.

If you’re sick or well, there is plenty to read about in this issue of Stratton Magazine. If you’re one of those who like to get out and play in the snow, we have an article for you on a new bike craze—fat tire snow bikes. And other articles on winter hiking and ice fishing. If you’d rather stay inside, may we suggest model trains? And, of course, for the holidays, you might want to start dusting off your festive decor. Good times are on the way.


-Geoffrey Norman