Time makes you bolder

Monday, July 18, 2016

Children get older

I've spent the summer thus far in service to college visits.  We have visited many and one thing is clear, my preferences are not my daughters.

In some ways, it is perfectly understandable. In places I would have thrived, my child would feel lost. In places in which I would have felt conspicuously lower middle class, my daughter walks easily.

As was always the plan of life, she will walk where I could not.


We spent nearly three weeks in Vermont. We arrived in Burlington late, near midnight, and rode to Stowe with the windows down. It was the smell I was after. Always the smell. I am a sensual creature who connects first with her nose.

Sweet grass, underlying pine and birch trees with early summer flowers. I breathed it in, over and over. I fell asleep with my window as open as it could be so I could be surrounded by the air.

von Trapp Lodge

New England feels different than where we live now. It is difficult to explain exactly, but I feel secure in Vermont. I relax back into the soil, closely held by the trees and mountains.  It isn't that I am unhappy in Wisconsin. I love my job and have made a few friends - it's just that Vermont feels so familiar that I suddenly understood stories of people who wanted to go home. For a person who never wanted to go home, this is a singularly unusual feeling.

I also look like the women my age in Vermont.*  There is some trait at the heart of it all, beyond the obligatory clogs and flowing cotton skirts. They are like me. They do not ask me about my "church home", they do not ask me about my kid(s) or husband. We smile at one another and move on.

When we returned from Vermont, there were many things to do. Reunite with rabbit and cat! Work things! More College Visits! I found solace in the community garden here. I work for hours at weeding and harvesting the garden for the food bank. I haul compost. I give shockingly expert opinion on hot peppers and how to harvest and store them. I come up with recipes for fennel.  After the last 5 hour session, I am so achingly exhausted that it hurts to walk the next day.

Working like this is a prayer. An ecstatic call and response of dirt and sweat. It is my shark cage against the conceptual sharks that surround me.

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