"I’d been away too long and had forgotten what summer in
Vermont was like. Summers like the ones my
sisters and I spent when we were young, at the farms of family friends. Summers
that got wound up in my head like vaguely-familiar dirt roads, reels of drive-in
movies, and the eddies of frequented swimming holes. Always with animals to
observe through rough-cut fencing, ears and eyelashes flicking the flies away. Always
with ferns and high fields to traipse through, and the differently-smelling shade
that could be found beneath the largest oaks and maples. And oh, how wonderful
it felt to not be found for hours, never waiting, just present in those days
that enveloped me like the scent of fresh-cut hay against my adolescent body. Then returning home at dark to family meals,
and with so many stories to tell--all those awe-inspiring things that could
happen over the course of one day.
Vermont is humid and
rainy, and the valleys are steamy hot pots filled to the brim with green shoots.
Here, everything gives of heat: tin roofs, car hoods, fertile pastures, farm
equipment, secret ponds, well-beaten paths. People, animals, plants. Inanimate
or animate, it doesn’t matter.
Invasive species like Queen Anne’s lace fill in the landscape, and become breeding grounds for garden enemies like snails and caterpillars. Orange and yellow marigolds get planted to keep the pests away from cabbages. The bee balm and buckwheat become invitations for the honey makers. And the grass is continually growing, despite the interference of your neighbors' constant mowing.
In the summer the rivers get low and rocky, and come with warnings when area farmers are fertilizing their fields. But on the hottest of days, the rapids feel good against your back, cascading over your shoulders, as you recline along stone slabs that have been smoothed down by centuries of traveling water. I’ve been told, this is how marbles get made.
I can tell you I came home to be reminded of these things, or because it was where my family was and I wished to be closer. I could tell you a lot of things, since I retained that ability as kid; though my stories have become much more elaborate and conflicted over the years.
Those days of sitting on stone walls letting my mind and imagination run rampant, are far from over. Reinserting myself into this place of my past, I am seeing so clearly that this story in still developing and evolving to give me a better understanding of who I am and what I am about, and who I will be years from now. Will I still be in
Will I still be searching?
This place is a part of me, more so now than it ever was. The difference is this urgency inside that says, “Right now, this moment.” And everything else is backstory."