In Newport, at the Vermont/Canadian border, a woman in a bubble-gum pink blazer strikes up a conversation with me in a parking lot about the snow falling into Lake Memphremagog. Mid-morning, dense clouds, fat snowflakes disappearing into the gray lake. I’ve never been around the Canadian edges of this lake.
In Newport, I stopped first to visit my new acquaintance Lila Bennett to check out the work she and her colleagues are doing at the Journey to Recovery Community Center. The center is suffused with natural light, alive with plants and colors, and it’s immediately obvious that they’re engaged in that old-fashioned phrase, “the good fight,” work that saves and salvages lives. Lila shows me the stack of my books, too, that the center is giving away for free, to anyone who wants to read it. I thank her profusely.
I’m in Newport, too, to find my way into a state building, up through a reverse rabbit warren into a large and light-filled room where the state’s staff tells Selectboard members and volunteers from Vermont’s tiny Northeast Kingdom towns about the chunks of federal money in the state’s coffers and asks how to get that money to the needy and broken places in our rural communities.
The room is packed. I sit in the back beside a state senator who offers me advice while I knit a sweater cuff. My blue and orange balls of fingerling yarn roll beneath a stranger’s chair.
The snow falls all morning. A woman I knew 25 years ago comes up and reintroduces herself and launches into her enthusiasm for the rail trail. I chat with the Department of Libraries staff member who reads my blog.
Finished, I hurry down to the lake’s boardwalk before I leave, to breathe in some of that cold wet air. Years ago, my little girl lost a flipflop in this lake. I was talking to someone from the farmers market where I worked, and I turned around when my daughter cried out. She had stuck her foot through the railings and lost her shoe. My friend tried to save her shoe with a stick, but the pink- and purple-flowered flipflop bobbed away, headed northward.
— Jacqueline Suskin
I can’t see my future clearly…
The road becomes itself
single stone after single stone
made of limitless possibility,