I had a friend stay over last night. We stayed up watching Doctor Who, Planet Earth, and listening to bands like Pink Floyd and Gorillaz. This morning we walked through town and up toward the cafe Gato Nero, where I bought myself a coffee and we parted ways shortly after. I decided to walk home the long way round, which essentially meant avoiding Federal St. a little longer and going down the hill toward the movie theatre and right. As I walked along Railroad St. I began to appreciate just how wonderful Vermont is.
This isn’t the first time, of course. Earlier this week some friends and I went to Willoughby Lake. The drive there was almost more exciting than Willoughby itself: sprawling hills of multicolored trees and purple mountain ranges for miles, a perfect blue sky with wispy white clouds, and then the mountains of Willoughby towering over us as we came to that vast lake. We walked through the woods of Willoughby (I opted out of wearing shoes the whole time) and built a campfire near the water and made it tall and hot.
I’m more appreciating of nature lately, and that is due largely in part to the impossible-to-ignore presence of Vermont’s nature during the summer. The trees are so bright with green that they seem to shout at you, begging to be looked at. The wind is sometimes harsh and will blow clouds of flower petals in front of you, and then you’re looking up at a massive lilac tree for five minutes. When it rains–especially at night–you can’t help but turn off all your music and devices and lights and sit by the window listening to the rain pitter-patter along the side of the house while the thunder gurgles faraway. It sometimes seems Vermont is offering us all of these things with a willing, comforting embrace, and that all we really need to do is listen up.
This morning, I was particularly groggy-minded. I won’t allude to my activities last night (or any night), but I awoke with quite the headache. I didn’t want to get out of bed, even, but I realized we had no coffee to make at the house. So Ben and I were forced to leave so that I could get my daily caffeine-fix, a necessary addiction and a nasty one that I’ve developed especially during senior year. Despite my relatively down-in-the-dumps mood and my exhausted body and mind, going outside was one of the best things I could have done for myself today. And today was a day when I didn’t even shower–I’ve showered every morning for four years. Being outside, especially once I had my coffee and had relaxed, made it clear to me what a wonderful world we live in. This is a realization I re-realize frequently, since it’s so easy to follow into the mundane mechanics of the weekday goings on.
Saturday morning walks present the world in a way you rarely see it otherwise, no matter where you live. It seems everyone is aware that this morning is meant for the little things: the trivial cup of coffee, the five minutes you sit on the front porch and bask in sunshine, the tiny errands you must run in order to enjoy the weekend. All the little things come out on Saturday, and with my little thing (coffee) successfully achieved, I felt free to simply appreciate things. Even though St. Johnsbury was once and industrial railroad town, even though many of the streets are poorly paved or cracked, and even though much of the town is in financial hardship, it was refreshing to hear birds singing from atop lampposts, to see the trees shivering in the wind, to see the yellow sunlight brightening everything in sight.
I realize, finally, that some part of me will miss this place when I leave in September. Of course Amherst, MA has lots of wonderful things–indeed, many of them better than what they are in St. Johnsbury–but I will still miss the little things I’ve grown accustomed to in this town. It will be difficult to adjust to a new place, no matter the excitement of the change.
As I sat on the tree stump in my front yard and looked at the street while I drank my coffee, the giant tree in the neighbor’s yard across the way seemed to vibrate and shake as a gentle breeze sifted through its leaves. Damn, that’s a nice tree.
PS. Broken Bells have some really wonderful songs. Try “The High Road” and “Trap Doors.”