Monday, August 29, 2011

Ich Bin Ein Vermonter

We interupt this summer's vacation remembrance to admit we were a little more than astonished by the news of Hurricane Irene and her needless thrashing of a state that is most unassuming and as far as we can tell has never gone out of it's way to make trouble. All we knew of Vermont previous to our recent trip was that people like to go skiing there and well, there's Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. And before Irene ran up there and threw a hissyfit we were thinking about writing some kind of god-awful ode to Robert Frost, something having to do with the number of ways to say Green, but now we just want to find out where to send a donation to help pay for the rebuilding of a covered bridge or two.
Before Irene, we were going to shame all those skiers into visiting Vermont in the summer. Because we don't know what the place looks like covered in snow, but we were enchanted by it's emerald hills in the last month of summer. We probably won't ever see it under the blankets of snow, the snow Robert Frost contemplated on a snowy evening - he knew those woods, his horse knew those woods, frankly, we were lost the entire time we were in Vermont. Our sense of direction has never been so obliterated, our gyrascope never so unattuned, so, dare we say, Wonky? We barely could believe the sun was rising in the east and setting in the west. It was altogether nerve-wracking and marvelous to feel so vulnerable to the wilds.
Wilds? Yes, Wilds . . . we thought we lived in the wilds, but we were terribly wrong about that. The South is no longer wild, on any front. Vermont, upstate New York, these are wild places. Uninhabited roads, unihabited hillsides . . . as though the Mohicans were still in charge.  Oh Uncas, we heard you one night in the voice of an owl, and it terrified us and thrilled us all at the same time.
If you are a Vermonter reading this, then you are laughing at us. How could a New England girl know so little. Well, we are not a New Englander apparently, we are a Connecticutter, and now, of all things, a North Carolinian, and bless you Vermont for showing us your greens, of which we have no business describing or painting with golden frosting, your greens which must be witchcraft because how could a place that becomes so cold in the winter be so verdant? Verdant? That is a word we promised we wouldn't use - Ver being green, Mont being mountain - no? Vermont where they say Green Witch, not Gren-Itch. Vermont where the roads are not paved. Vermont where there are moose and porcupines, of all things! And bears, bears who live on the blueberries and lurk in the waist high ferns - ferns that we stumbled through on a hike in the rain, with a friend and her Meunsterlander who became very keen and was she telling us of the bears? She was, but we forged on and the GPS was a fool on the hill.
Oh Vermont, you have been washed of your sins by Irene, but if only Irene knew you had no sins. You see, Vermont brings out some sort of awful Walt Whitman in me - Whitman having lunch with Frost having dinner with Ginsberg . . .can you see it? "Bob, I have seen the best of our covered bridges destroyed by the hurricanes . . . " Frost would look at Ginsberg, blink his eyes and ask for the check, because what could a New York Jew Gay boy tell him about the snowy woods? Who? Who was more zen? Ginsberg or Frost or Whitman? The answer: a dairy cow on a hill in Vermont.
And now? Back to our regular programming . . .

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