It's been a long, snowy winter and as spring approaches it just doesn't seem that winter is willing to release her icy grip. I've always found that the key to living in Vermont is to no matter what, just go outside. Spring, summer, fall, winter, bugs, mud, rain, ice, sleet, snow, cold, sun, heat, humidity, just get out there and walk, ski, snowshoe, ride your bike. Having a dog helps; they get you out there and, inevitably how uncomfortable you initially are, once you are out there, a wonder, a beauty, however tiny or small, always crops up.  

The Vernal Equinox was not so springy in Vermont this year. Rain, sleet, ice, whirling winds and blowing snow greeted the day and I was not looking forward to leaving my cozy spot to go outside and get soaking wet, but those beautiful brown eyes looking down that long, black nose at me said "Come on! Let's GO!" so I bundled up and grabbed my snowshoes and out we went. Snow and spindrift swirling I climbed the hill I do every day watching the beauty of motion of a fit and fast animal revel in the pure joy of running through the fresh snow, the sharp contrast of jet black and pure white. So fast and so athletic, it's always a marvel. We top the hill, enter the woods and start to climb. This day was one of the few that happens that stops you in your tracks to just gape at the beauty around you. Yes, the weather had been bad, very bad in fact, but the end result was stunning! Through the blowing snow I saw icicles, thousands and thousands of them, hanging from every branch, dusted with powdery snow, a scene right out of a child's vision of Santa's house at the North Pole. The more we climbed, the deeper in the woods we went, the more spectacular it became. I suddenly was a child again, curious, expectant, wondering what treasure I would find around the next corner, just wanting to continue to explore and find the hidden gems that no one but my dog "Vagabond" and I were to see. It had to be one of the most spectacular snowshoe treks I've ever done and it just kept getting better! As I topped out the hill I came out to a clearing. I stood watching the weather change and suddenly as if by command the clouds lifted faster than imaginable and I was perched on the edge of The Valley in a sea of shocking blue, swirling white and crystal. Yikes, I live here! It was a good day in the neighborhood!

Easter Sunday. I wake to a commotion outside my window, wondering what was happening out there this morning to see the fire department and ambulance and rescue service, smoke and flames coming out of the window of the house across the street! So shocking! So disastrous! Life changes in an instant! So, think about your day. Turn off the TV, shut off your cell phone, go outside, talk to your kids, your husband and your wife, take your dog for a walk, call your friends, spend time out there and remember it can change faster than you can imagine. It is the people of this world that make the difference, and we are so lucky to have so many good people here who will come to your rescue. I say thank you, Vermont. Thank you for your kindness and thank you for your beauty. It's why we live here.

Cate Tierney lives in Warren.