The trees are covered with tiny leaves. The Maples are revealing their mapley selves with these miniature perfectly shaped leaves. They are almost transparent at this stage. The greens are fresh and lacy and they are climbing back up the mountains. In the autumn the color washes down over the valley in waves and then in the spring it gently climbs back up starting low in the valley and by middle May reaching high up the sides of the mountains. The last of the snow up there has finally disappeared this week and the joy of the greening has begun in earnest.
I love spring. It is chilly in the mornings when we go out and give the lambs their bottles around 6. John and I carry our mugs of coffee, their bottles, and blankets to cover the wet chairs. It rains about every night now at least for a little while. The chairs on the terrace are cold and damp. But by the time we come back in an hour or so later the sun is glowing through the trees streaming down in fat yellow drops. There are puddles of it all over the garden. John’s rock walls have little bright pools glistening on top them, and inside their are bits of it all over the furniture and floors. Under an old quilt inside the cold house we drink more hot thick coffee and watch the lambs from the windows. It is an ancient looking landscape; sheep grazing amidst sun and spring lavender on a hilly smallholding.
Life is old here. There is a slow and dependable rhythm to our days. The seasons are more real somehow when you are living this close to the land. Farmer’s markets are where we get most of our food for six months out of the year from people who make their living from this land. Our milk comes from a dairy up the road and often is still warm when we pick up our jars. And even the cheese in the refrigerator comes from local goat farmers who are trying to make a difference in their tiny part of the world.
Things close early up here. There is one movie theater with two screens. The restaurants wrap up by 9 because there just are not enough people up here to justify staying open any later. Even the newspapers don’t get to Vermont before 8 or 9. This is not a state big enough to print its own and so we must wait for NY to print theirs and deliver us ours. You must like the people you live with a lot and you must know how to entertain yourself to feel happy. You walk in the woods because there are no art museums and you go to the waterfall for coffee instead of the cafe across from the park. We were always seriously big readers, but now books sustain us even more deeply than before. Some of us write and some of us draw. There is even knitting on the coldest nights. The pleasures are the same ones that our ancestors probably enjoyed. We cook elaborate meals and we care for and play with our animals many hours every day. They give us the daily responsibilities that keep us moving when it is 10 below. We do our work out in the world every day and then we come back here where the views and the slow moving time remind us to pay attention and remember why we chose this new life in this old place.
And on days like today when the lambs are munching in the meadow with these pools of sunshine all around I can hear God is whispering in my ear……