The ‘gratitude’ category

Green Mountain State of Mind

June 10th, 2017

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Well, here we are. Vermont. For months I’ve been telling my 2.5-year-old daughters “We’re going to Vermont” as I helped orchestrate perhaps the most stressful cross-country move ever. Finally, on Sunday, the girls and I got on a plane with my brother (a saint) and flew through Chicago into Hartford and up Route 91 to southern Vermont, where we now live.

I love it here. The girls do, too. But they don’t get it. “Home!” they keep demanding. I don’t blame them. Our wall-to-wall-carpeted split-level ranch in the suburbs of Salt Lake City is the only home they have ever known. They can’t be expected to understand the concept of moving, no matter how superior our new house and community may be.

It was never really home to me, though. It served as a fine landing pad as my husband and I negotiated the life-pivot of dating in our 40s, a very sudden twin pregnancy, and a protracted splitting of assets with his ex-wife. But for so many reasons, I never felt at home there. 

For one thing, the house still half-belonged to Jon’s ex. So I could never quite shake the feeling that I was living in her house. This wasn’t just me being weird. She would frequently scream “IT’S MY HOUSE!!”—particularly whenever anything stressful came up around co-parenting Jon’s stepdaughter. In fact, she threatened to have me arrested for trespassing days after I moved in. Even though she was now living in the heart of Utah County, an hour south, with her boss (now her husband), and I was 5 months pregnant. Anyway.

There were other reasons I didn’t feel at home there. I’m a bohemian at heart, so I didn’t exactly fit in to the conservative, hyper-religious, feminist-decrying culture of that part of the country. And the suburbs aren’t really my thing, nor the high altitude and the relentless sunshine. I prefer rain.

When we arrived in southern Vermont three days ago, it was indeed raining, and had been for weeks. The locals were complaining, but I was in heaven. Our new place has acres and acres of sloping grassy hill leading down to the woods, and beyond that, views of distant green mountains.  They don’t call Vermont “the Green Mountain State” for nada.

Along with the rain, of course, come the bugs. I remember this from growing up near here. The black flies, mosquitos, those fucker ticks (sorry, but they are truly fuckers). 

By dusk tonight, my daughters had fully succumbed to how much they love it here. “Run around outside” was a full sentence I actually heard Eliza say more than once today. Jon, too, was in heaven, and so was Rocky, our Italian greyhound, whose life dream has always been a space big enough in which to run wild and fast and free.

I alone headed back inside. “It’s too buggy,” I complained. Still, I have never been so happy to be annoyed by bugs in my life. 

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