There is snow on election day, five inches or more. Soft snow. Cold snow. Good snow. I ski at first light, straight down the gravel road, along the shoulder, where the plow has cast what it cleared from the center. That familiar cadence, the push-and-glide, the quick breath. Down past Dan’s, and onto Skunk Hollow. In nearly an hour, I see two cars. It’s still snowing when I return. The light is hazy. I feel buoyed.
Later, at the end of the day, I ride my bicycle a half mile to the town hall to count votes. I’ve never done this before and am surprised by how gratifying it feels to unfold the ballots, then divide them into neat stacks of 25 (four stacks, plus one stack of 14, comprising the 114 total cast in this little town; an unprecedented turnout), then record the individual votes, a tick mark for each in the appropriate column. It is so pleasingly analog; pencil and paper, the mask-muffled murmur of voices from the other two teams of counters, our breath made visible in the condensation beading on the old single pane windows that line the east wall.
It takes barely an hour, and then I’m back into the dark, riding home in the cold, right past the ski tracks I left in the morning, which already feels like such a long time ago.