Friday, April 6, 2012

I AM VERMONT STRONG

Green Plate for a Green State
Today I bought and affixed to my car, which is newly spattered by the effects of a particularly Vermont condition that falls between winter and spring known as “Mud Season,” the license plate pictured above. These plates, sales of which benefit the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund have been on sale only a few weeks and according to today’s local paper reached the 25,000 mark yesterday, hitting the halfway point of a projected million dollar fundraising goal.  I’m proud to have this plate on my car, and I’m looking forward to proving in everything I do as a Vermonter that its message is more than a clever advertizing slogan. I think I have a head start, in that much of my life has been about triumphing over adversity and emerging with a surprisingly good attitude.  So, it turns out, I’ve been a Vermonter all along!

Local & State

I’ve only been living here for four months, and it has not only lived up to my expectations, but exceeded them. Life is not easy here, never was, and never will be in a state that depends so much on that least reliable of phenomena, the weather, for its economic survival, but perhaps because of that, there is a pride and resiliency here that I have not encountered anywhere else.  I want to be around that. I want to be part of that. And now I am. 

 After the Flood (from: Cracks Hold Us Together : A Series)

Last summer, to add insult to injury, while staggering under the same economic downturn as the rest of the country, as well as its own unique issues with specific industries like farming, marble, maple and ski tourism that are all subject to mood swings even in generally good economic times, Vermont was hit by Hurricane Irene, a natural disaster, unprecedented in most residents’ lifetimes, whose damage can still be seen in the erosion of roads and rivers, the wreckage of bridges and buildings, and FOR SALE signs on homes and businesses. But soon after the flood waters receded, people were already cleaning up and rebuilding. If anything, it made communities stronger, and being a Vermonter something to be proud of, even in the worst of circumstances, after which there is nothing to do but work hard to make them better. 

 Building Blocks

Of course, this may be the romantic view of an outsider.  That might be the case if I were one to view anything romantically without a healthy sprinkling of cynicism to cut the sweetness. In my brief time here I’ve also seen the sadness and frailty of Vermont, the kind you find anywhere humanity is present and allowed to descend to its own worst level. I’ve opened my mind and heart to the good and the bad, and I still find myself not wanting to be anywhere else. In more ways than one, Vermont is recovering, and I want to be part of that too. 

Arise

Here in the States, it’s a double holiday, with both Passover and Easter falling on the same weekend.  These two very different celebrations both have to do with liberation, the one from slavery, and the other from the bonds of death itself, and whatever religion you choose to follow, even if the answer is “none of the above,” there’s a lesson in the spirit of these holidays that can benefit anyone. For this writer at least, it’s about maintaining faith during, and eventual triumph over, the worst of circumstances.


Once again, I offer thanks to all of you who continue to follow this blog , even as  I have allowed other things to get in the way of keeping up with yours.  Speaking of comebacks, things on the jobhunting front are beginning to look favorable, and, as you can see from Brian’s recent post, I’ve been hitting the trails again for some long distance walking, one of my passions that has been quite literally left by the roadside for far too long.  With a little hard work and continued good faith, things can only get better. 


Wishing you all a great weekend!

20 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how happy I am that your new home speaks to you on so many levels. This post made happy tears prickle behind my overly sentimental eyes.
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. EC - when it comes to enduring adversity and emerging with a good attitude, I'd say you qualify as an honorary Vermonter! It means a lot to me that this post touched you. I appreciate your presence here so much! Have a great week.

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  2. Hey there dear Vermonter, you have choosen the right place to go to,that makes me happy. That last shot tells so much, happy weekend x

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    1. Thanks Renilde! I don't like very many photos of me, but that last one does say a lot about who and where I am at the moment. Standing firm, but gazing off into the distance with the wind in my hair!

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  3. TT/G - I am so gladdened to know that you have settled so well that you are feeling you are at home; and your life is emeshed with where you live - not just a visitor passing through. B and you seem to be developing lovely patterns in life - the walking in the country must be so refreshing. Fiona and I felt that when we visited that Vermont (at least Rutland and Manchester) had a good vibe and that we could easily return and enjoy griping through its beauty. Go well, B

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    1. Barry - glad you can corroborate regarding the vibe here. It is something special indeed, and so, not to everyone's taste, but you and F are kindred spirits and I am not surprised you felt it too. It is interesting that having passed the 4 month mark, patterns are indeed emerging, and we feel every day more like residents and less like visitors. Oddly, the whole time I was in the Boston area I would answer the "where are you from?" question with an immediate "New York! - um, but I live in Somerville" even after 8 years! Already here I am saying "I live just up the block, but I'm originally from New York." How odd the way language indicates such deeper truth! All the best to you.

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  4. It's great to be able to show your support for your new home like this; and fantastic that you feel so strongly about it! I remember the very moment not long after we arrived here, that I thought - (because we'd been having this conversation...) if B died, I'd stay. Not go back to where I just came from where all my friends were; I would stay in this special place because it is home. Sounds like you have found a true home as well. Hope you had agreat weekend - ours was sun-filled and gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks F, for your own story about the importance of feeling at home in a place. This seems especially true for people who travel around a lot! There is nothing like experience and knowledge of other places to confirm what is and isn't home. Weekend was good, but now the workweek begins - and we are up before the sun! All the best to you.

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  5. In the long road of our personal pilgrimages,,,it is always fantastic to finally find our place, idealized and spiced with the eyes of romanticism maybe, but that is what give color, meaning and joy to a life that otherwise would be dull and sad if completely ruled by the tyrannic reason, and the raw eyes of the objectivity. Somebody told me of a little story once: There was an old man walking along windy and dusty roads,,that when younger decided to leave and find Utopia. One day he met in his way a young individual who lived in a remote village, ranting and complaining about his life circumstances while plowing the fields under a cruel sun. He asked the old man where he was heading to, "I am going to Utopia" the old man said. "Oh you silly decrepit old,,,dont you know Utopia does not exist??" the young man mockingly replied like being so clever. "I know it" the old man said. "so how it comes that you still,,being aware of it,,,still look for such a stupid mirage?? the young man said while pitifully pulled the plow. The old man resumed his path, while calmly turned around and said: "I look for Utopia,,because it keeps me on walking" and disappeared while walking to the horizon.
    May you have days plenty of blessings dear Gaby,,you know you are always in my mind :)

    Warm hugs from your friend Alberto :)

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    1. Thank you for the story, Alberto! It is indeed good to have something that keeps you moving along the path. I may have found a good place to call home, but I will always be on a journey in one way or another! All the best to you, my friend.

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  6. Your text transmits much hope and willpower of Vermonters.
    It's a positive feeling that is around and generate a vibratory current which will provide new opportunities.
    The "death" brings changes, a new life, a new chance to do things differently.
    I send you all, Vermonters, my love and my good vibrations.

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    1. Thank you so much dear Cris! Your good vibrations are felt and appreciated!

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  7. Hiking always soothes my soul. I need to start doing more of it.

    Glad to hear the job-market is being a little more kind to you. Fingers crossed that you get something you love very, very soon.

    Being originally from New Hampshire, Vermont's sort of upside down twin(?), I get the weather concerns. Boy, do I. I hope things stay tempered and balanced this spring for you guys.

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  8. Hiking is one of those things soooo worth finding (or making) the time and energy for! The benefits in a clear head, calmed soul and revitalized body are well worth any sacrifice. That said - admittedly, I spend way too much effort singing its praises and then making excuses -- and not enough getting out there doing it!

    I love the idea of NH being VT's upside-down twin! Weather here has been typically atypical. Recent rain has produced snow on the mountain mere miles away - enough for a late season revival for our local ski resort while most others have been closed for weeks! It isn't just "if you don't like the weather wait five minutes" here - it's also "drive to the next town!"

    Have a great weekend!

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  9. Love that final photo with your head in the clouds, looking to distant horizons, with your home on your back. So how Aussies see the spirit of the American expansion West. Yet here you are in the East, soulmate to Vermont - what we down under call 'stayers', people who weather harsh seasons to come up smiling. May Spring be kind to all your hopes.

    Mega hugs from Tassie where we can already smell penguin breath on the Southerly winds of approaching winter.

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    1. Well, hello there Harry! Always nice to have a comment from you. Your description of that last photo is perfection! And I have officially added your "stayers" to my personal lexicon - it really does capture exactly the spirit I've found here and feel such kinship with. Plus, the bit about penguin breath made me smile!

      All the best to you my friend - in all seasons.

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  10. I like hearing your news [despite I being delayed...]
    I love knowing that you're feeling 'alive' and happy!
    Brava Gabriella, all happiness to you,
    a big hug

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  11. Cara Denise! It is always good to see you, delayed or not! I owe your blog a long awaited visit also! You will be seeing me soon, but until then I send you much love. Have a wonderful week!

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