Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fern Forest Winter

We were quite surprised when Colleen and Jay signed up to stay two nights in the treehouse just after Christmas. We'd had some snow, and the early winter nights were getting cold. But the treehouse looked sweet outlined by colored lights.

They drove up from Brooklyn in Jay's 1996 Volkswagen Golf without snowtires, stopping for a bite to eat along Route 22A. It was after dark when they arrived in Lincoln, getting within fifty yards of our snowy driveway before they skidded off the road into a snowbank. A neighbor came to help, and AAA managed to pull them out by looping a band around the old car's rear tire.

There was no way the Golf was going to make it up our steep driveway, so H followed them to the local library, where they left their car in the parking lot, and he hauled them and their cross-country skis back to the house in his pickup truck. That night Jay picked some tunes on H's guitar and we drank a couple beers and got to know each other. Colleen is a freelance producer who worked on Survivor Fiji and met Jay when she worked for VH1, where Jay produces videos. He showed us pictures on his Mac of him with Les Paul, Trey Anastasio, and a dozen other luminaries in the music world.

We warmed up the treehouse the best we could with its little heater, and Colleen had brought an extra down comforter. I had put a thick one on the bed as well as an electrically heated mattress pad, but they'd need the extra warmth for the coldest night of the year. Temps dipped to minus five that night with a fierce wind that made the trees creak and pulled the wind chill down to minus fifteen. I was glad to see them in the morning, rosy cheeked and gleeful and not at all frozen or grumpy, and we gave them hot mushroom frittata for breakfast and kept the hot coffee coming.

That afternoon H drove them to Bristol for supplies, which included beer, wine and munchies, and then we got more snow and the news advised not to go out on the slick roads. It was too cold even to ski, so I made some black bean soup and pulled the venison steaks from the freezer, and Colleen and I made a feast, served by candlelight and seasoned with two bottles of good wine. Fed and fueled, they headed out to the treehouse for a second night.

In the morning the roads were clear, and I went to the gym for a two-hour workout. When I got back at 11:00 a.m., our guests were just rising. I made waffles with warm maple fruit compote, and they hung out with us until early afternoon. We were sorry to see these intrepid souls leave. I could sense their reluctance to head back to concrete and crowds, but I know they'll be back. What interesting, creative and versatile souls to spend some holiday time in the fierce and purifying cold with us.

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