Hustle and Bustle of the City

Yes, Waterbury can be a bit busier than this, especially during/after events or when the state employees leave the state complex. But for the most part, this is the hustle and bustle that I see on a daily basis. Add a little snow, and there’s something soothing about the slow heartbeat of traffic signals, spiriting folks here and there with … Read More …

Four Years On

Sometimes, it takes the eye of an outsider to appreciate your surroundings.

This past August, I had just such a chance when some old friends from Delaware came for a visit. Although we definitely wanted to hang out and catch up, I knew they’d also want to see what makes Vermont great and planned a few jam-packed days, including the usual “three-town tour” I give everyone: Montpelier, Waterbury, and Burlington. But with decent weather and my own wish to see a few new things myself, we all became tourists on that long weekend.

In Montpelier, we all tried… Read More …

Enormity in Small Things

Four years ago, when I was first considering a move to Vermont for a career change, there were naturally reservations. I knew that Waterbury was smaller than most any town I had spent the night in, much less lived in, and nearby towns weren’t much larger. I considered commuting from Burlington, a bit of a mixture of Wilmington and Newark, Delaware—only with more spunk and vigor—but the distance and inadequate transit made it impractical.

So, I gathered all the … Read More …

Happy Discoveries

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, life is pretty short. I try to spend mine discovering anything and everything, big and small, bizarre and mundane.

No matter where I go—to and from work, out for a stroll behind my building, or walking through my neighborhood—I am constantly taking inventory. My eyes scan everything around me, detecting the least little speck of something out of place. (Ask Susanne—she’s witnessed me spotting the tiniest of things in the forest floor on many of our hikes together.)

So it was nothing new to… Read More …

Getting Jazzy

For all its quaint, laid-back charm, Vermont likes a good time!

Having a few errands in the Burlington area, I decided to check out a few of the free outdoor performances of the Discover Jazz Festival—and to see how much Vermonters enjoy the outdoor performances. I was not disappointed.

On the center block ofof the Marketplace, Burlington’s own The High Breaks were performing their not-quite-jazz but very enjoyable surf rock. I believe I heard… Read More …

Oh, Alaska… I mean, Vermont!

Back in the day, I loved that silly network show Northern Exposure. The humor and the quirky characters were a great escape from the dullitries¹ of college chores and work, and the storylines often played out like Alaska was some foreign land, long before Sarah Palin came along.

The kicker for me was always the wandering moose, which acted as the unofficial mascot of the show. At the time, a moose seemed about as American as a camel. (Isn’t a moose just a … Read More …

Vermont Being Vermont

So this winter seems a bit closer to how I always imagined Vermont. Snow started before Thanksgiving and has been on the ground ever since. It’s always been a little here, a little there, without any big snowstorms to speak of, though we came close this past week.

Thursday night through Friday we finally got a pretty big one, totaling about 14 to 15 inches here in Waterbury. Sure, we occasionally got bigger snowstorms in Delaware—I recall one storm that dropped 23 inches in two days. But here in Vermont, the snow lingers and becomes… Read More …

That’s “Mr. Huffnpuff” to you!

Despite being surrounded by nature that often seems boundless, I haven’t been able to hike much since moving to Vermont. For most of the summer it rained every weekend, and weekday afternoon hikes aren’t so easy, since most trails here are pretty hardcore. As I’ve learned, so are Vermonters.

Every time I’ve gone for a hike, I’ve been shamed by at least one person nearly twice my age. At Hunger Mountain, a few women in their 70s darted past us up the steep trail. They climbed the mountain so quickly that they later passed us going down…while we were still trudging up! At least one of them was close to 80, bless her soul. That hike is about two miles each way, with a climb of over 2,000 feet. Vermonters are… Read More …

Life in a Northern Town

I’ve been in Vermont for just over two months now, and it feels like I’ve been here my whole life. It’s comfortable. It’s peaceful. It’s home.

What’s it like for the outsider though? First off, I’ve yet to meet a cranky person. People here are relaxed, friendly, and welcoming. Even the tourists here are happy and easygoing, a far cry from the chain-smoking screech-owls common at most tourist destinations I know.

What’s it like for me? Well, I walk the half-mile to work each day. I pass by a coffee shop, useful when I’m running late, and a supermarket or drug store if I need something on the way home. I can … Read More …

Recalculating Route

Most people think of me as fairly laid back and tolerant. For the most part, I am. But what they often don’t see is that I’ve spent my entire life fighting, and what appears as calm is more often mental exhaustion.

Over the years, I fought for love and affection. I fought for respect. I fought for opportunities that weren’t really meant for me. I fought for a better life than the one I knew in adolescence. I fought to stay afloat financially. I fought for truth, when people didn’t want to hear it. I fought for everything I have and everything I am. Nothing I have was handed to me.

Imagine running a mental marathon for 40 years. That’s what it’s been like, and I was exhausted. Need for escape from the fight had reached urgency.

Read More …