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My Vermont: Susan Beard

05/15/08 7:50AM
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Hi. I'm Susan Beard of Rutland.

I was born and raised in a small town in California, back in the days when everyone knew his neighbors, the air was clean, you could leave your car unlocked with the key in the ignition, and parents could let their children roam and explore with few worries.

I lived in San Francisco for college and my first job. The City offered many cultural opportunities. But there I evolved from a trusting person into a watchful and wary one.

Vermont was just a name on the map until my first-ever visit in 1970.

It felt like coming home. It was so green and clean here! People were warm and welcoming. Six months later, I moved here for good.

One of the first things I noticed was the connection between contemporary life, local history, the land, and the plants and animals that live on it.

I think it's this solid, comfortable compatibility with the land that keeps native Vermonters here, and invites newcomers to stay.

Vermont has been my home for 37 years now, and I've seen many changes.

Not all of them for the better.

I used to be able to attend an evening movie or play, and then walk the mile home alone in the dark without a care.

I wouldn't dream of doing that now.

The pace of life has turned frantic, and people are much more competitive.

I really don't particularly the huge, new houses that look so out of place here.

l worry about industrial toxins polluting land, water and air. And I'm afraid that economic concerns, rather than absolute safety, will drive the decision for continuing with nuclear power generation.

But I'm encouraged by the strong progressive attitude here. There's determination to develop non-invasive, renewable sources of power and transportation.

We recycle, and have composting programs.

I'm heartened by the enthusiasm for relying more on healthful, locally grown food, and by a determination to preserve our wilderness.

There's deep concern and an indomitable spirit in this little State of ours.

We will face down the challenges of this chaotic world.

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