A baby boomer sees the world around her changing

As one of the oldest generations alive today, some say we’re too old to learn, too old to find new ways to live our lives. Well, don’t let them talk to baby boomer Erin O’Brien of Warwick, Rhode Island, who just last year moved from her lifelong home in Southern California to her husband’s native territory in New England. She watched the Northeast’s recent “bomb cyclone” storm with a new set of eyes.

Together, each window pane makes up a gallery of black and white winter images. In one, snowdrifts climb up the side of the house like suspended ocean waves. In the next, empty brittle branches shake in the wind. Somewhere there is a pond, beyond the foggy curtain of snowfall.

In the days after Christmas, I listen to carols by the Christmas tree as the wind whistles and roars in the background, reminding me I’m not in California any more. Sinatra sings of “frosted window panes” as I look through them, and Johnny Mathis sings the “snow is glistening,” and I realize it really is, just like pieces of glass.

Ahead of the storm, I walked along the bay, fascinated by snow on the sand, unlike any beach I remember in Southern California. A flock of Canada geese in their V-formation swooped down and skidded on the ice as they landed. Camera in hand, I asked my husband to remain at a distance, as I didn’t want to give them a complex with his goose down parka.

More geese occupied a nearby sunny field, resting on the remains of the cornstalks, slowly rising as four deer strode through the middle of the flock. Under the trees, a squirrel leapt over snowy mounds of tree trunks in search of buried acorns in the usual hiding places.

The geese have spent many winters here, beginning each fall flying directly over what is now our house towards the pond, just as their ancestors likely did. If they can weather the storm, so can I. Evidently it’s not cold enough to fly south yet. They wear goose down, after all.

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