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My Vermont: Jim Woodard

05/05/08 7:50AM
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"On the morning of my 33rd birthday in December 2004, I awoke with uncharacteristic morning clarity, thinking: This is the year I move to Vermont.

I landed in the woods of Underhill in the fall with my dogs and cats, having otherwise shed my life in Boston: a home, a network of friends, a job, a partner. I lay sleepless in my bed those first few weeks, each growl from my dog convincing me that a crazed woodsman would chop through my window screen with an axe - certain overkill, in hindsight - and ridiculously I imagined a legendary story emerging, about the urban ex-pat who thought it okay to sleep with his windows open.

But no woodsman came chopping, and I bought my own chainsaw.

How quickly my Vermont rewarded me: with neighbors eager to meet me, showing up with home-baked cookies; with the first of many breathtaking full moons over my snowy meadow, turning the night-world luminously blue; with the rigors of mud season, and the gentle ribbings from my new neighbor-friends who mocked my brownie-batter driveway, but then showed up on a tractor to grade it for me; with summers of cycling with my buddy Dave, whose home-brewed beer rewards us following rides up through Canada via Morse's Line; or the local breakfast spot where Deb doesn't ask, but simply says, "Firehouse? French toast? Over medium?" or the owl in my woods I've unimaginatively dubbed "Hootie"; and yeah, even those kids who nailed my mailbox with a giant pumpkin last year. Nice shot, guys.

Honestly, it's challenging to live anywhere, isn't it? Every place has its own inherent strengths and disappointing drawbacks, the key is how we, as a community, choose to respond to either. And that's the thing about my Vermont: it's not really mine. It's our Vermont, of which I feel blessed and grateful to be a part. So thanks, Vermont. Thanks for welcoming me in."

Related Links

My Vermont Project main page
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