State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

snow

by Natalia

This is not the first snow of the season in Killington. But so far whatever is falling from the sky at night melts the following day. Even the mountaintops are not white. Except for the smidgens of man-made snow on Killington trails.

À la recherche de la voiture perdue

People here often remark that, being from Poland, I must be used to cold and snow. It's been some time since I gave up trying to dispel the notion. In Gdańsk, my hometown in northern Poland, temperature doesn't drop as low in winter as it does in New England. And Gdańsk gets about a third of snow compared to Boston, Massachusetts. But facts do not matter much. We are all attached to our favorite stereotypes and Poland sounds like it's at the pole. Protesting only makes people more suspicious so if you want to think I grew up playing with polar bear cubs on the way to school, be my guest.

Killington Resort is open since November 1st. I suppose that after an aggressive rebranding campaign over last couple of years I should be calling it the Beast. At least this is what new owner wants. The message is that you come to get in touch with your wilder side. No more friendly, wishy-washy, family oriented soppiness. It's about adrenaline, pain and impossible tricks. Or, more probably, it's about the marketing firm being at its wits end.

At the moment the Beast is rather tame. One can ski on a couple of trails along a single open chair lift. And a 10 minute walk up the stairs to the gondola is required to ride back to the parking lot at the end of day. Hardly worth the trouble. Especially since the Beast charges almost $50 for a pleasure of an early season dip. I'd rather wait for the real stuff to fall.

And the real stuff will fall. Last year one snowstorm dumped 6 feet of heavy white substance. We did not feel like digging the car out that afternoon and next day we realized we could barely find the place where we parked it. Not that we needed the car right away, but the notion that it can just disappear was disconcerting. So we spent an hour to dig out a little tunnel through which we could see the license plate. It took us two more days and couple of more tries to rescue the poor thing. We took pictures to counter the disbelief of our friends in Gdańsk. And when the car finally emerged we discovered the weight of snow cracked its windshield. Today's flurry is not going to do that. And we do have a bigger car this year. One of those days though a decent snowfall will jump start the skiing season and the fun will begin in earnest.

silo

There is something in South Dakota that can decide the fate of the world. Scratch that. There was something there. It's just a national historic site now. A museum staffed by national park rangers preserving a launch control center and a silo hiding 18 meters long, slender, white missile. Which used to be topped with a 1.2 megaton warhead. Nothing to sneeze at if you consider that the entire WWII used between 2 and 6 megaton of explosives and that includes 20 kiloton nuclear bombs detonated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

hub

This city used to be modestly called the hub. As in: the hub of the universe. Well, not the entire universe: just the solar system. Hence modesty. For quite a long time Boston did not have to prove anything to anybody. Not even to those new fangled New Yorkers. By the time we moved into the area though, it did not look like much. It had history on its side: American independence war started here and the city itself was founded in 1630 which is why everyone was telling us it's old. But we moved from Gdańsk, which was just celebrating its millenium, so less then 400 years did not impress us. Dirty, messy and unreasonably cold: this is pretty much how we felt about it.