Our lovely respite, two days with sunshine, ended late yesterday afternoon when the sky over Walden way looked dark and threatening - a sure sign some kind of storm is brewing. I sat in my swivel chair by our big corner windows and watched the last light of day fading over the channel running into Joe's Pond. I was on a break from "the manuscript."
"Looks like it's going to snow," I told Fred.
"Not until tomorrow according to the forecast," he replied.
Turns out we were both right. It did snow - starting just about dark with a few flakes, but by bedtime there wasn't much accumulation. By morning there was almost an inch of new, fluffy pretty dry snow. Sometime mid-morning the wind began to pick up and most of today has been swirling with snow, sometimes like a blizzard, other times, gently drifting aimlessly down on us. As the temperature dropped, the wind picked up. We've added a few more inches to the snow pack that I'm guessing is between 12-18 inches.
I've been going through old Joe's Pond Association newsletters looking for interesting stuff to include in our history book. It's a real joy to read through the newsletters written over the thirty-two years Ray Johnson was secretary of JPA. He had a wonderful witty way with words. (How's that for alliteration?) I remember when I took the job a couple years after Ray had resigned, I worried that I could never live up to his legacy. Lauren Chase had been secretary for two years before I took it, and when she signed on she declared Ray a "hard act to follow," and said she would not even try to match his wit. Lauren was a smart cookie and I followed her example.
Always the cheerleader for Joe's Pond, in the spring of 1976, Ray commented: ". . . even the gray [days] are a better gray in Vermont than elsewhere."
Further into the newsletter, Ray reminded people to "check the Bulletin Board at Hastings Miracle Mart in the city for all the information you will need to survive another summer in this magnificent part of the world."
Indeed. If you don't find it at Hastings Store, you probably don't need it. For years the store has been headquarters for everything the summer folks (and us locals) need, including advice, message relays, a secure repository for an extra set of keys to your camp, and general information center.
In one of the newsletters, Ray talked about the studdy planned by the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission and two professors from St. Michaels College who were to conduct studies of lake eutrophication. He wrote: "Most of you are certainly aware of the weeds advancing in ever-increasing intensity throughout the Pond, and if something is not done to combat this menace we may soon find ourselves camping beside only a sea of grass."
I couldn't find any results of that particular study, or if the two professors actually studied Joe's Pond. What I did find was that a couple years later the Vermont Dept. of Water Resources did a comprehensive study and reported "the water quality of Joes Pond is uniformly excellent."
That same report measured depths of the pond: "The average depth in the main pond is 24 ft. with a maximum depth of 95 ft., the middle pond has an average depth of 10.4 ft., and the lower pond has an average depth of 9.9 ft."
Ray's comment: "If some of you non-swimmers fall in you have a very good chance of making shallow water if you run fast enough."
That report in 1979 began the era of wetlands regulations that both protects the pond and sometimes annoys and hinders property owners wanting to make changes on their property. Still, as I quote Ray once again: "Those who have climbed the highest mountains, sailed the seven seas, and hobnobbed with royalty are forever telling us that their Joes Pond years are among their most pleasurable memories - which surprises us not at all."
Times change, taxes rise and people grumble, but this is still a pretty darned nice place to live. Good people, good vibes, good living.