Hi! How are all of you? How is Seattle these days? Mandla, it was wonderful to talk with you on your birthday!!! What did you end up doing? I hope it was a good day all around. I had a good morning in New York City and then caught my train (just in time – I’d ventured to the bathroom and ended up being the last person to board my train before it pulled out of Penn Station, a close call). We were 2 hours late getting into Montpelier turning my 9 hour train ride into 11. Wry smile. I dozed for a couple of hours probably, wrote in my journal, listened to music, read a little bit and generally just relaxed. It’s a beautiful train ride, especially once you start getting north into New England proper. I’d forgotten just how lush and green it is here. Winters are certainly hard, but it feels as though summer really works hard to make up for it. The fields are abloom with black eyed susans, daisies, queen Anne’s lace and flowers I wouldn’t be able to name if I tried.
It was sunny my first two days – the first, Jon and I hung out at home – he and his mum stay in a beautiful house that Jon’s mum (Rachel’s) parents bought in the fifties. I find it homey and incredibly comfortable – large rooms with creaky wooden floors, all assortment of furniture, including lamps that Rachel explains are mostly from Salvation Armani (a wonderful reworking, I think of Salvation Army). The front of the house has a screened in porch with table, rocking chairs and a cot – perfect for summer evenings. The day lilies bloom all around the house – sunny and bright. There are little blueberry bushes which bear about 2 berries a day (they were just planted last year) and then raspberry bushes dripping red and black berries. Smile. I love summer fruit from the garden. As Rachel has said, her family is not particularly materialistic, so the house feels familiar to me – comfortable and lived in but not overflowing with sixty years worth of junk, which is wonderful. There are also two cats – Cleo and Erica – neither of which has taken to me particularly, but that’s alright.
So our first morning, we went into Danville (the town where Rachel and her husband George pay taxes for the house) and the farmers’ market. I keep being reminded of how small and really provincial this part of New England is – the grand spread out New England homes, the quaint shops, the tiny summer farmers’ market. Smile. It is really quite charming, though. And I could see myself living in this part of the country again. After the farmers’ market, we went home, made a picnic then walked down the gravel road from Jon’s house for a “swim” in the sheep dip, a tiny pool on the creek that runs along the road. The water was chilly, as stream water up here generally is. We followed the very brief dip, quite literally in and out, with our picnic lunch and then a visit to Jon’s elderly neighbor Janet who sent us home with a bag of snow peas from her garden. She regaled us with tales of her younger years and the adventures she and her husband had with their children from New York City (where they met) to the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky to Pennsylvania to upstate New York to Chiapas Mexico to Michigan and finally here to Vermont. Quite the stories. Smile. A beautiful old woman!
Then yesterday Jon and I got up late, made another picnic lunch and had a hike up a 3,300 foot “mountain” followed by a wonderful wonderful swim in one of the Vermont ponds up in the area. I do love to swim, and I love ponds and lakes. It reminded me so much of the many summer days we spent up at Webster Lake in Franklin. And our summer out at Squam Lake. What fun!
Today the rain has continued into the morning, so we’ve come into town and are running errands and doing emails.
I’m thinking of all of you and looking forward to seeing you in Seattle.