Worth Waiting For…

April 17, 2008 by Ellen Stimson in Springtime, Vermont

There’s nothing quite like all this warm sunshine, and the millions of little green things poking up to give you a feeling of joy. You made it through. I look at our meadow where the birds are rustling around building nests, and up the hill where the crocuses are vibrant purple exclamation points, and I feel a benevolence toward the whole of the rest of the world. We all got through that dreary gray extended winter together and here we are, cleaning up, stacking the rest of the wood back in the basement, repairing the cracked glass panes that the ice left behind, sweeping the winter leavings away together. Everybody’s friendly again down at the general store. People say good morning now, and there is a spring in it unlike the crabby complaints about the papers that were ubiquitous this winter. “…The papers here yet…?”, they would growl. Forget hello, nevermind that the NYT doesn’t get to Vermont until about 4:30 AM, and unless you happen to live next to the shipping station which is an hour away from here, it won’t get to your corner until 8 or even 9. There are just a few drivers and they each have a hundred stops or more. When we owned the store we hung a flag up for a while so people would know when the papers were in. But that only worked once somebody had already driven or walked up. They still came in and said…”No papers…?” never quite trusting the stupid colorful flag with its bright tail that was supposed to give them a happy feeling of village life while we all waited… together. It never worked for us, and the new owners had the same crabby folks there every morning all winter. It took spring to make them forget about how late the silly papers were or at any rate to stop caring.

Two weeks ago a tired and troubled restaurant owner hung himself in town. Since i am home for a change in the middle of the week, and have been cleaning up winter, I have also had several occasions to run over to the store to get a clamp for gluing a window, or some mud for filling a crack, and have heard all of the sad conversation about this man. It seems the restaurant had been struggling. Well, businesses do that a lot up here. We bring in our city skills and they just do not translate. And worse there are hardly any people so you have to please the ones there are…over and over. And in mud season there are even fewer since so many of us take a nice little spring break somewhere, and no tourist in his right mind comes here at the end of March or beginning of April. It is very hard on the local economy. But of course, the vendors still have to be paid. It can get really get you down. And the electric company, kindly when it is minus 10 outside, makes up for it in April by turning everybody off at once. This fellow was found hanging in his kitchen where the power had been turned off.

He was also known to drink and brood. So it likely wasn’t just any one thing. But yesterday I heard a carpenter named Dean talking about his friend. It had been very upsetting for him. They had shared a beer and some dinner late last winter. He knew his friend was battling his demons and the gray landscape wasn’t helping any. We walked out of the general store together into the bright sunshine. There was birdsong on the breeze and the air smelled loamy and warm. The sun was glinting off the leftover snow up on the mountains, and we were struck by the feeling of warmth on our faces when we looked up at them. Quietly he said “Just look at this. He should have waited. It was only a couple of weeks away…”

It’s true. We all need to remember occasionally just to wait….


  • library lady

    I have always thought that the inability to see beyond NOW must be a leading cause in suicide. All of the problems with failing business and the long dark winter of the soul built up walls the poor man couldn’t imagine seeing over and death became his only friend. How sad.

  • Peace is every step

    We had a family friend who hung himself in jail after his parent’s wouldn’t bail him out (he was underage drinking & driving). His parents told him he needed to sit this one out and learn from it. He told them, “you’ll be the ones who’ll learn”, and made that fatal decision.
    I often wonder what all their lives would be like if he would have just waited until morning.

  • Angela

    Oh wow… sorry to hear about that. Glad winter is letting up for all of you.

  • TheCynicalOptimist

    Yes, spring has finally spring here as well. Even the overcast rainy day we have today is better than winter- it smells like earthworms- clean, like a fresh start.

    I think I read men are more prone to seasonal affective disorder- that is really too bad.

    Thanks for the pregnancy support- I need it right now!

  • jamie

    Did you take that picture yourself? It’s gorgeous.

    What a sad story, but such a great lesson.

    (ps–your comment on my blog made me laugh out loud! :))

  • Amy

    That is so sad. When we walk in the valley of darkness, it is hard to believe that there is any light left. Sometimes that light is just around the bend.

  • Kellan

    “Just look at this” – for sure!!!! I loved this – as sad a story as it is – I love those last few lines!!!

    Have a good day – Kellan

  • Bia

    This was so sad. I had a good friend who once told me that the secret to parenthood is that things always look better in the morning, and I’ve always found this to be true about like, in general. A new day always brings hope, and sometimes that is the only thing we can cling to.

    It’s so sad that restaurant owner didn’t wait “one more day”.

    God bless.

  • the mother of this lot

    That’s a sad story. Sometimes it’s too hard to wait.

  • Jennifer

    Oh my goodness. This makes me ache. I think light always shows itself, in one way or another, if we do just wait out that darkness. Though sometimes it takes a lot of waiting. So sad.

  • Mighty Morphin' Mama

    This touched me so deeply, there are so many moments in life where it seems like the sun will never shine again, but then, there it is, breaking through the gloom. I am happily catching a few of those rays at this moment.

  • painted maypole

    oh. ooof. sad and uplifting, both…

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