One of the best things about going to school in Vermont is that the weather is never predictable. There’s a saying in Vermont that goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” While this is something of an exaggeration, it is definitely rooted in fact, as you could wake up to a bright sunny day, eat lunch during a rainstorm, head to the library in hail, and return to your dorm in driving wind. Middlebury’s location between two mountain ranges (Adirondacks in New York and Greens in Vermont) and within the Champlain valley makes us particularly susceptible to changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure (and I’m no weatherman, so all of this is based solely upon personal observation and not scientific acumen) so that really, anything goes in terms of what’s happening outside. I’ve experienced some of the craziest weather of my life here, whether it’s a monster snow storm, a menacing thunderstorm that knocks out power for the entire campus, or an impossibly stunning sunset behind the Adirondack Mountains that makes it hard to imagine a more beautiful place on earth.
However, one of the best things about this unpredictable weather is that we can get moments like these past few days, the first week of November, that roll in with beautiful, sunny, warm weather reminiscent of early spring and late fall, rather than nearly-Thanksgiving. This past week, the campus exploded with people taking advantage of this gift of gorgeous weather, whether it was playing Frisbee on Battell Beach, taking some reading outside to the Atwater terrace, or enjoying lunch outside Proctor. Students shed their polar fleece and boots in favor of dresses, leggings, shorts and even flip-flops. Yesterday I even witnessed a professor taking her class outside for discussion section. Even though most of the trees have lost their leaves and the squirrels have started their maniacal foraging of acorns, these past four days brought a reminder of the end of summer days we have left, and a teaser for the beautiful spring to come after the long, long winter.
So, when you’re packing for Middlebury, you definitely need a warm winter coat, boots, and lots of hats, mittens, scarves and warm socks. But, don’t forget your shorts, t-shirts and sandals (and don’t pack them away too soon) because you just might get a day like we did, when it’s 65 degrees in November.