State of the World, Here

My nearly-15-year-old and I went to Stowe today, so I could be x-rayed for the profoundly awful tooth surgery I had before Christmas last year. We haven’t been anywhere, this daughter and I, for about, oh, a pandemic’s age.

While she went biking, I waited outside, reading beside a blooming apple tree. Afterwards, I walked along the river and through emerald bright fields, and then met her back in town, beside the white congregational church.

For over a decade, I went to Stowe regularly and sold maple syrup and homemade ice cream and root beer at the farmers market, and made what will likely be the most money in my life. Eventually, I just wore out and gave my spot to someone else, and went on to something else….. Stowe’s an incredibly pretty Vermont village, with a river running through its mountain valley. But this closed-up town had changed immensely. Along the bike path, no one met our eyes, no one nodded and said hello — and even my teen noticed. What’s up with that? she asked.

The town where I live struggles with plenty of challenges, but it’s not a tourist destination. I already knew that where you live in Vermont made a difference — that schools in wealthy communities offer more than schools in poorer, rural areas — but we saw a glimmer of a different kind of difference, too. Vermont, for all its loveliness as a place to live, is hardly homogenous. May this suspicion be a passing phase, too.

Meanwhile, the beauty of May reigns — with gold daffodils, red tulips, our grass sprinkled with violets. Asparagus, spinach, mesclun….

Summer afternoon downpour
a flock of sparrows
hanging on to the grass

— Buson

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Photo by Gabriela