Winter Afternoon

A horse-drawn sleigh passes a snug farmhouse in a snowy landscape. Old-timey lettering on the side of the sleigh reads, VERMONT COUNTRY TOURS. START YOUR OWN FRANCHISE. The driver has fallen into a snow bank, so there is no one at the reins. Most of the passengers are oblivious because they are busy tweeting. One has noticed their dire situation and points forward to an oncoming Prius. In the background, we glimpse the farmer and his wife pouring jumbo store-bought bottles of apple cider into a rustic-looking cider barrel labeled HOME-MADE.

The Old Mill

An 18th Century stone mill with a water wheel is nestled beside a creek in a winter-white world. Across the façade is a banner reading, OLD MILL CONDOS. REDUCED! GRANITE COUNTERS. HISTORIC DETAILS. Two red cardinals gaze out at the viewer. Their tiny footprints are the only ones that lead to the sales office.

A Winter Gambol

A young couple in their Sunday finery pauses beneath a hoary bower. He turns his gentle gaze to her, but you can tell from the look on her face that she wishes he were a vampire.

Maple Sugaring

Two men in pajamas and parkas stand over their snow-covered curbside recycling barrels as they simultaneously deposit identical empty glass jugs of Vermont Real Maple Syrup inside. Stacks of their resumes spill out of the bins. The wreathed front doors are open, framing the figures of their professionally dressed wives, who are leaving for work. Next to the barrels, a squirrel examines an empty Advil PM bottle.

Another Stocking to Fill

Santa Claus gazes serenely at a crib holding a newborn baby. Beside it are two toddlers in bunk beds and a teenager in a toddler bed. On the floor, their dear mother has fallen asleep reading, You Can Pay for College. Through the doorway behind Santa we peek into an open plan living-dining area with a table holding a cornucopia of genetically engineered but affordable vegetables.

Skating Scene by Moonlight

Couples with their arms linked and ice skates slung over their shoulders glide to and fro on the shores of an unfrozen lake, searching for ice. In a country lane that circles the lake, the headlights of idling cars spread a warm glow into the night sky, blotting out the stars. On the horizon, smoke curls invitingly from the stacks of a tidy, coal-fired power plant, partially obscuring the full moon.

Ice-Boat on the Hudson

A small but valiant wind-tossed craft plies the choppy waters of the Hudson. On the deck is a ten-foot-tall ice sculpture of Bacchus, kept in place by ropes and day laborers. On a plateau above, mansions are decorated for the holidays. Closer to shore, hobos gather around a cheery fire. Just visible on one of the mansion’s front lawns is the tiny figure of a splendidly turned out party host peering eagerly towards the boat.

American Winter Sports,
Deer Shooting on the Shattagee

The same two men from Maple Sugaring stand hidden behind a pine tree, its boughs heavy with snow. Their guns are aimed at three deer on the opposite bank of a river. One man is crying. In the distance is an electronic billboard advertising a Caribbean resort called SANDALS.