NORTH COUNTRY

Much of the world seems to migrate toward the equator during the shortest days of the year. Beaches and the excess of the holidays provide respite from the cold and dark. 

I tend to point the compass in the other direction this time of year. Something tells me the winter equinox is best spent in the very places it alters the most. This time, that place is the 51st parallel. Amazingly, the temperature is just as many degrees below zero. 

The north country is big country. Hours pass like miles from one town to the next. The roads are quiet and coated icy-white. This time of year the sun is only shy and half-awake. At its apogee it rarely crests above the high peaks for long.   

Most days are just another day. All you have to do is stay afloat. Get out of bed, eat, work, eat, sleep—repeat. In the north country, the difference is ever-present: you acutely know when a day will start and when it will end. The little daylight there is seems to cause a stir deep within: There's no time to waste.