Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thank you, Vermont

The rain begins with the commencement of school--an impressive concussion of thunderstorms that lasts for two days. I notice that the leaves in Snow Valley have already begun to let go of their summer green, though not yet infused with the dazzling palette of autumn.

The air is cool during the rain, heavy and hot during the moments of stillness. I find myself serene and knowing this place as a kind of home. For all my resistance, I do like Vermont--in spite of its being a part of New England, which always feels stifling and accusatory, if only for its history and the vestiges of the puritanical sensibility that gave it its place names, its conservativism, its general fear of pleasure.

No, I find I can forgive Vermont its geographical association with New England (though I still joke that I think I was burned at the stake in my last life--besides, if that's true it had to have been southeast of where I now reside). Plus, Vermont's "hippies" and rednecks defy the standards of her Massachusetts and Connecticut neighbors, making me feel less like a fish out of water.

I find I can embrace Vermont for its verdant hills, for its sparrows and chickadees. I can embrace Vermont for its blue lakes nestled in the blazing fall foliage, too, but mostly I begin to embrace Vermont for the joy it brings my sons. I can even love Vermont for the way it has adopted them and absorbed them into its snow culture.

I find that after 20 nomadic years I could possibly learn to be still, and I know that Vermont has taught me that. There is undeniable gratitude here and a fondness for the seasons, which I could never have anticipated. In Vermont I have learned to be home.

*I can't in good conscience not admit that I have borrowed a morsel of language from Ray Bradbury in this piece. I first saw the word 'concussion' used to describe a storm in a short story of his called "All Summer in a Day." Thanks, Mr. Bradbury. Love your work.