As we drove toward Bennington College, where our child is so incredibly happily ensconced, from Rupert though Dorset and Manchester, it hit us. This is likely the last time we’ll make that particular run. When Mom and Dad close on their house in early November, we won’t have any reason to go to those towns other than nostalgia.
Rupert, where Mom and Dad have lived for 20 years.
Manchester, where I had my first job (at the Northshire Bookstore, in the Children’s Department, when I was 9. I was responsible for engaging with customers and offering recommendations. I loved it. I think my pay was a $25 gift card. Perfect.)
Dorset, where both my grandmothers AND my great-grandmother lived. Where my parents met, playing tennis at the Dorset Field Club. Where Jeremy and I were married late on a snowy December afternoon outside on my paternal grandmother’s front lawn. Where my maternal grandmother is buried in the town cemetery.
Life in Vermont is slow. It’s prepared me for cruising in ways I have not really fully realized until right this minute, and I’m not talking about the unbelievably precious summer we just spent in Averill working on the OPO.
Dorset summers (extending to Averill summers) were about exploring outdoors. Riding bikes. Climbing trees. Skating in the quarry. Tennis at the club. They were times to connect with extended family we saw once a year. They were about relaxed schedules and no provided entertainment. We’d get so bored we’d lie flat on our backs and watch the clouds in the sky, which sparked conversation and stories and eventually an idea of what to do.
Cruising is all of that. It’s outdoor time. Connection time - and precious, precious time reconnecting with friends and family when you get to see them only once in a while. It’s relaxed schedules (with some parameters), and entertainment provided by the changing ocean and yes, scuttling clouds.
Above all, for us cruising is wonder. Sparked with moments of doubt and terror and uncertainty, yes; it would be horribly monotonous otherwise. But the wonder of sunsets, of dolphins, of wind on water and neighbors swinging on hooks. Of movement for movement’s sake, or for curiosity.
I’m so afraid that this suburban existence of ours will swallow the wonder. Here, there’s no savoring of lunch while we watch the loons on the lake. There’s only the sameness of dry grass against the privacy fence our back yard neighbor put up while we were away. Containers of tools still need to be brought in from the van, but it’s dumping rain and there’s nothing in there that can’t wait.
The grocery store is predictably jammed. I find myself annoyed that there are not more heads of lettuce to pick from, after a summer of being thrilled to find anything other than romaine or iceberg. Am I annoyed because it’s easier than crying? We’re trying to eat through our stores in preparation for moving later in the year so I don’t buy any staples, only fresh stuff. Still there are 4 bags of groceries to lug in, unpack and put away. How long can they last? Time will tell.
All I want is the breathing room that comes with the endless play of light on water. Instead I open the computer and start to write.