Sunday, May 20, 2007

V is for Vermont

There are no billboards here.

There is asparagus, in a cooler at the farm stand, $2/bunch, honor system.

There are Chuck and Dave, back from their winter haunts, already hitting the art openings, already absorbing tales from the cold season.

There’s a pair of orioles at my suet cake, fighting with downy and hairy woodpeckers and a gang of starlings.

The hummingbirds are fierce fighter jets on the way to their feeder.

An indigo bunting showed himself to Tim, but I saw only the blue flash of its tail feathers.

The rose-breasted grosbeaks make me gasp every time.

There is no McDonald’s in the state capitol.

There are lots of rich people here—retired people, the always-rich. Some of these people work very hard, even though they don’t have to. A lot of them are successful artists.

There are lots of poor people here.

There are mountains. When I drive to the next valley over, I feel like I’m in paradise.

There are slate piles in my town, what with living in the Slate Valley. It is not destination Vermont. But it is Vermont.

Paul, Lynda, Kristina, and Nolan moved in next door a couple of years ago. What a stroke of luck.

In summer, we go to Sioux, Duke, and Aidan’s swimming hole. We drink champagne on their porch.

In winter, if I’m lucky, I cross-country ski.

In spring, I sign up to edit big textbooks. It keeps me slaving away indoors but helps pay the bills so I can stay here awhile longer.

I want to stay here awhile longer.

In fall, there are 10 perfectly colored days. We cannot tell you in advance which ones they will be.

Another Paul looks after all of us. He paints my house—a little every year. He advises us newbies on how to maintain property in this clime. He sold his house to my sister. He traded that perfect porch for a perfect screened-in one, surrounded by woods.

The year I moved here, I was advised to lock my car only in summer, so that it would not be filled with zucchini.

There are civil unions here. And Jim Jeffords was our senator.

There are lots of cows. We have the highest cow-to-people ratio in the United States (allegedly 1:2).

A rail trail, the Delaware and Hudson, runs behind my house, just on the other side of the creek. It trails by lots of cows and lots of birds.

There’s a general store built over a brook. Look through the deliberate opening in the floor. Sometimes there are trout in the deep pool.

There are cedar waxwings working the hatches above the rivers. Common yellowthroats, those masked bandits, tease us from the stream bank’s tall grasses as we fish.

There are no billboards here.