When you live somewhere with your windows open for six months out of the year, weather is more urgent, more a part of the natural rhythms of your life. We moved to Vermont to get closer to the natural world and weather has been a big part of that. Our son just moved up the road a few miles to Pawlet, which is where we would probably live if we had the big Vermont move to do over. It is a hippy dippy community full of artists and writers where the mountains rise up all around you, close, just behind the cornfields. Benjamin has a view of big fat round mountains out every window and a few steps from his porch is a vast cornfield. This area is known by locals as the Pawlet Flats because there are wide sweet farm fields surrounded by these nurturing mountains. The run off in the spring is full of nutrients and the land is lush and fertile as a result. When they cut the corn, (Benjamin’s corn field is cattle feed that will get cut now in a couple of weeks), the empty fields will fill with herds of deer foraging and eating all the left over corn. When we first moved up here we would take a drive every evening after they cut the corn and watch the deer. Now we can go and sit on Benjamin’s porch and do it from there. But even better we can watch the weather roll in. He has the best spot for storm watching I have ever seen short of a gray stormy beach with cliffs and crashing waves.
Watching a storm come in over the mountains is exciting. You can see the rain up high often even when you have blue skies and sun over your own head. The clouds get trapped in the mountains and you can watch them toss and tumble and work their way down to wherever you are. It is a big dark and broody show that reminds me of the Italian olds master paintings with boats tossed on a stormy sea. The clouds around a good mountain in a big storm look exactly like that. Those renaissance painters must not have had mountains out their windows or they surely would have painted some stormy pictures of them.
Lately we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave up here. This gets your attention when you live in a place known as the naturally air conditioned state where no one, maybe excepting the hospitals, but not even the schools have air conditioning. It was hitting ninety here every day for nearly a week. Luckily it got back down into the fifties at night so we could all sleep with our attic fans on and the houses stayed relatively cool through the day as a result. But the hurricane blew over New England and left behind a more regular September with mornings in the forties and days in the 60s or maybe even 70. September is a glorious time to live in Vermont. It is warm enough to go out even very early with a sweatshirt and the soccer practices in the late afternoon are sunshiny and warm. You can watch the tippy tops of the mountains begin to lighten and the golds start before the real show comes in October. The apple trees are full of fruit and you can take off on any Tuesday and beat the tourist hordes to the orchards for a little apple picking, some cider doughnuts and coffee early in the morning. Everybody loves everybody in September.
September is a busy time for our business but mostly on the weekends when all our school clients are opening. Really it is probably no busier only I have to be away from home on the weekends for all those back to school meetings and fundraisers. During the week though I work on the materials for the next one coming up and there is plenty of time for coffee with the chickens and puppy training, cooking and homework. September comes right after my birthday and that always gets me thinking about where I am. You know those big questions we are supposed to ask ourselves every once in a while. Who am I ? Where do I live? What do I do? They seem simple enough. But I have noticed over the years that my answers change. And I guess I think they should.
Right now I am still deep into mothering. So I am a mother. I hope I will always be with this sweet man I married, so my marriage remains defining. My friends have sustained me and continue to bring us love and joy and aggravation, more family than the originals, so they and not the people we spent our formative years with are an intimate part of my story. And I live in the mountains close to nature and my animals for pleasure. I kept the mascara, stripey hair, and lipstick form my city life and dress like a gypsy here among all these LL Bean women so that too is surely a part of who I am. We cook and read and I make some money so we get to do it all here in this old and beautiful place. And in September amidst all this slow lead up to the big show in October I am grateful and glad. I live here with these people I love in this gentle and slow place. How about you? Where do you really live?