Here in North Worcester County, the land of the frozen chosen, January can (seem to) last several months. And so, if you have your wits about you, you’ll take up a winter sport. My husband and son ski at Mt. Wachusett, and I cross-country, when the snow is fine. And my daughter, age 4.5 (or, as she says Four and a half and three quarters) would happily ski down our front yard over and over. You know who we are? We’re the part of Massachusetts that receive a foot of snow, when those in Boston are quivering about an anticipated six inches. And then reality hits, which is that the nor’easter bypasses Boston and heads straight for the middle part of the state, and we end up getting 18 inches.


You know what that looks like? Curved forms, verses liner. Henry Moore sculpture that’s constantly changing. I’m writing this now, in the middle of the “Polar Vortex” (which, frankly, sounds like a hair metal band I might have seen at Bunratty’s way back when) and noticing all the snow on the trees is gone.

So what we do is head to The Finnish Center at Saima Park to go through the trails. They’re cool with snowshoers as well. Or stay indoors and work on textile projects (e.g., quilting, which seems to have a huge following out here). When I was growing up there were several stores devoted exclusively to fabric. In the era of the mighty-mall, you can find remnants at Michael’s and Joanne’s, but my preference is getting those shrunken wool sweaters at Goodwill and making stuffed animals.

And if you want to go out, come to Fitchburg Public Library on January 25, 4:15 pm for “Stories and Shelter Cats.” This is produced by ACE, Animal Care and Education, the group I founded to help look out for stray and homeless animals and educate school kids ( We have information on how to adopt a dog or cat. Visit ace-central ma on Facebook — excellent pet advice and sharing.

Speaking of animals — you see that picture? You see that picture? It shows a winding trail that was all that remained after the sun melted the first six inches of snow. That’s a mouse-track, heading straight to our compost heap. The shadowy form underneath? That’s a moose track. I have no idea when these two paths intersected, but I’m very, very sorry to have missed this.

— Sally Cragin / The Tri-Town Reprt

Sally Cragin writes the astrology column “Moon Signs” for the Portland and Providence Phoenix newspapers and is reachable at

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