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.
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.
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!