A Place Like No Other


In sharing with a co-worker that I planned to head to Vermont for the weekend alone – without my family – she wondered out loud if I would be afraid to be alone in the “Deep Dark Woods.”  Well no I answered, in fact, I’ll be at the lake, not really in the woods…

On Saturday after some morning errands near my Vermont cabin, I decided to drive from St. J to Craftsbury along South Wheelock Road and quickly found myself in the “Deep Dark Woods” for about 20 miles.  As I traveled along the dirt road, it turned into a rippled washboard.  This was all too familiar to me after having lived on a dirt road in Vermont for about 10 years!  I noticed the houses were looking weather-beaten.  I know that here in the Northeast Kingdom, the winter weather is quite severe and takes a big toll.  I couldn’t help but think that I was in the Appalachia of the north.

I passed one modest house which leaned this way and that.  At the last second, I noticed an elderly man bent over an aged woman sitting on the porch.  Wait, did I really see that!?!

I also passed an area where the trees bent and bowed over the road.  As I passed under the canopy, I saw branches woven through the limbs of two old maples, creating a true treehouse made entirely of trees.  I stopped myself from screeching on the brakes to snap a photo.  It just felt too intrusive.

I spotted a sign indicating a left turn to visit Chandler Pond Farm.  I had been following their Facebook page for some time and had always wanted to look them up.  I made the turn and was rewarded with an old-fashioned farmstand where products were actually grown on the farm!  Being seasonal, they offered asparagus, rhubarb, grass-fed beef, maple syrup, fresh cut flowers, handmade soaps, honey, and a few other odds and ends.  It was self-service and pay into a locked box with a slit on top.

I only had a twenty dollar bill plus a few ones, which I had been saving for the fair in Craftsbury.  This just seemed that much more important so I spent what I had at the farm.

As I left the farm, I happened upon 4 broken-free, not-yet-fully-grown cows, who had wondered out of the field and into the road.  As I slowed to a crawl, they blinked at me and looked guilty as they started to trot back into the field.  I spoke to them in a friendly voice and they hurried away.


The Scream

I finally understand. It began like a yawn, a bit voluntary but then quickly becoming involuntary. My face pinched up to howl, it rolled over me with a shudder. I noticed I was shaking and didn’t try to stop it. The noise I emitted was the saddest wail I had ever heard, a deep, guttural sorrow. Several waves of this followed. The person sitting next to me did not appear to hear or notice. I wondered if I was mad and whether I might be taken away. Rivers flowed from my eyes in a steady stream and then the episode stopped abruptly, same as it had arrived.

To Speak or Not?

Some seem tone deaf to the ring of truth as they speak.
Is it that they believe their own words?
Perhaps they chatter without forethought of whether their words carry truth.

Careful speakers may be taken for sullen and silent.
Their lack of chatter may be assumed to be something it is not.
They offer the unfiltered thoughts in their mind, rather than be misinterpreted.
Some may call this brutal honesty.

Slavic Pool-Mates

Eastern Europeans in general seem to especially value the pool and spa.  They enjoy it as a family pastime, teach their children to swim at a young age, even use it as a social opportunity and meet friends there.  It fits in with their active lifestyle.  I hear their beautiful language and the young ones alternating between English and their parents native language, without missing a beat.  Fathers especially like to come with their three year-olds who swim like fish.  They also tend to linger over it.  The children are well-mannered and parents stay with their children and they play together.  Father swims laps carrying the wee one on his back.  Sometimes mother arrives later and takes the children home to feed them supper and put them to bed while father finishes his swim.  And they always swim in a steady, quiet, clean, and non-splashing manner.