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From the Publisher: 'Positive' Thoughts

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Published January 12, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


Iced over windows at the author's home - PAULA ROUTLY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Paula Routly ©️ Seven Days
  • Iced over windows at the author's home

I woke up on Sunday morning to the sound of a hard rain — a freezing one, in fact, that coated every west-facing window on my Burlington home with a layer of ice. Looking through the glass, I saw a distorted view of the backyard I know so well, the familiar made abstract through a new lens. The effect was beautiful but foreboding. Anxious, I went to the weather app on my phone to find out when the temperature would rise enough to melt it.

January scares me — even in a normal year. After the madness of three back-to-back holidays, the month emerges, merciless and punishing, like the bony finger of the last ghost in "A Christmas Carol." The fun is over. That's why I keep the tree up until it's a code-red fire hazard. I've often wondered why early Christians, who adopted and tweaked pagan traditions to promote their religion, didn't move the birth of Jesus to the end of January to help us get through the winter — anything to make a perennially brutal month a wee bit cheerier.

No doubt those folks had to live through worse than new variants of COVID-19.

Still, we could use some good news. Amid the Omicron surge, after almost two years of the pandemic, the next few months look no clearer than the view from my ice-covered windows. Everything seems unpredictable, from our whiplash weather to the local retail economy. The same haphazardness extends to coronavirus guidance around prevention, testing, quarantine and school attendance.

Some restaurants are open; others are shuttered. It's the same with performance venues. Burlington's Radio Bean closed unexpectedly on Saturday night and announced that it would stay that way through the end of the month. The University of Vermont's Lane Series canceled its first concert of 2022, but not the rest of the season. Seems like everyone in the business of getting people together is figuring it out as they go along.

A positive at-home Covid test - PAULA ROUTLY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Paula Routly ©️ Seven Days
  • A positive at-home Covid test

Similarly, Seven Days has had to make some tough decisions about our events and ancillary publications. For the third year in a row, we aren't going to publish 7 Nights, our annual dining guide. This spring's Vermont Restaurant Week likely won't happen, either. Right now, our fragile eateries need more employees, not customers.

The annual Kids VT Camp and School Fair, however, is on — in person at Burlington's Hilton on Saturday, March 5. Planning outdoor summer adventures and bunkhouse shenanigans six months hence might be the best thing parents can do for their kids this winter. If the coronavirus crashes the event, we'll figure out another way to make those connections.

Summer sure feels a long way off, though. In fact, just a few hours after Sunday's thaw came another chilling blast: I tested positive for COVID-19. Now, along with countless other fully vaccinated and boosted Vermonters, I'm not going anywhere. At least my partner is virus-free, for the moment, and we've got a still-glowing-but-now-shedding conifer in the house to cheer us up.