It’s almost spring, but he ain’t feelin’ it. The snowpack, even around his Cabot home, is three feet thick. The on-trail skiing pretty much sucks, but the backdoor outings – the latest just this morning, a hour of slipping through three-inches of pre-dawn fluff atop a crust that would make a baguette jealous – still beckon.

Twice he’s tried to get the tractor into the woods, and twice he’s nearly gotten stuck. The firewood is nearly gone; perhaps another half-cord, maybe enough, maybe not. It’s felt like a real winter, like winter the way winter should be, long and snowy and cold.

Yesterday, he heard a fellow on VPR talking about a book he wrote: The Geography of Happiness. The fellow had been surprised to find that the happiest people lived in the coldest, most foreboding places. The writer had decided it was because it forced a collective effort against the elements, a coming together to forge ahead, a common purpose.

Maybe so, he thinks, maybe so. Or perhaps it’s this: Maybe the happy people know something the dissatisfied don’t: It’s not the battle against the elements that breeds satisfaction. It’s the elements themselves.

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