I stop into the Friday Hardwick Farmers Market to buy dumplings for my daughters. Waiting in line, I chat with an acquaintance from a nearby town who tells me his wife’s sister unexpectedly passed away in spring, and left a house full of things and no children to clean out the house. I’ve known this man and his wife for years. They’re amicable and pleasant, with a far more relaxed view towards the world than my own, seriously Type A, ‘get a plan’ attitude.’ I find them incredibly pleasant and refreshing.
He buys chicken curry and mentions to me that if I ever hear of free vinyl records, he’d be interested.
A chilly wind blows across the market field, and the vendor grabs his paper boxes. ‘Feels like September,’ he says. ‘Summer’s disappearing, and I haven’t even enjoyed it yet.’
I hand him ten dollar bill and step out into the sunlight. In the pavilion, a young woman sings while another fiddles. For a moment, time splinters, and I’m back at the Stowe Farmers Market where I sold our maple syrup for over a decade. For many of those years, I had a baby or small child on my back. Cloud shadows skitter over the field, and the wind blows dust into my eyes.
The dumpling man says, ‘Take more sauce,’ and I do.
I know what coming back to America from a war zone is like because I’ve done it so many times. First there is a kind of shock at the level of comfort and affluence that we enjoy, but that is followed by the dismal realization that we live in a society that is basically at war with itself. People speak with incredible contempt about – depending on their views – the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign-born, the president, or the entire US government… People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united for long.”— Sebastian Junger