So many miles passed this weekend. Two trips to Vermont’s big city of Burlington for the Green Mountain Book Festival — Saturday as a participant, Sunday as audience. One trip alone, one trip with a friend. This past summer, I put some genuine effort into what I named my own personal healing project from the isolation and sadness of the pandemic — a project I admittedly dabbled in, without real expectation of success.
Here’s what I did: I gardened, spent as much time outside as possible, swam whenever I could, slept under the stars, and basically tried hard not to care very much (or maybe be distracted) by things that don’t mean very much.
What a pleasure to be back among the literary world, where people walked in and out of rooms in the lovely Fletcher Free Library, listening to poets and writers, the young and the very old, talk about writing. In an innate kind of way, these are my people.
Outside, rain fell in a dismal September day. I’m not a cardholder at this library and have only intermittently walked through its doors. Sitting in the main reading room in my raspberry-jam-hue sweater, I could have kept listening to the stories, language pared down and muscular, judicious with adjectives, evocative of Vermont and the people living here.
Media spin notwithstanding, the pandemic hasn’t vanished. Our world has been upended. And yet we move on.
A few lines from Jay Parini who graciously read beside me this weekend:
“It is not an easy thing to alter the trajectory of your life. People have expectations on your behalf. You come to believe them yourself.”
And, last, I’ve kindly been invited to the North Danville Library this coming Tuesday, 7 p.m.