A rainy day like today reminds me of board games, jigsaw puzzles, and crafts; reading a whole book ( or two) in one sitting; baking cookies or sewing a new skirt; knitting/crocheting; making homemade soup. Chilly rain that smells like a mountain stream. Sweatshirts were invented for days like today, when the pond water is warmer than the brisk air.
I’m spending a couple of weeks with my mother and daughter in the home where I grew up in central Vermont. Four of us had the run of the pastures and woods here in the 60’s and 70’s, rode our bikes up and down the road, and filled long summer days with adventures of our own invention. Rainy days were inconvenient then, one less sunny day to enjoy before the inevitable return to school. We kept ourselves busy with marathon monopoly games, forts made of card tables and blankets, or a fire in the fireplace where we could read our books and pretend to be pioneers.
Now I’m happy just to watch the rain, and listen to the sound of showers in the trees. It’s fun to go walking in the rain, avoiding the mud and the puddles and remembering the visits to Vermont with my own four small children who stomped their feet with great delight in those puddles …was it really 25 years ago already?
Very little has changed in this place since my parents bought in 1960. There has been change, but not the kind of change that destroys memories and makes the landscape unrecognizable. When warm sun comes through the clouds, heating up the moisture in the air like a sauna, all the grasses, ferns, blossoms, and fruits sparkle in the light. The cool breezes carry the sweetness of freshly cut grass, and the leaves in the aspens tremble with each little gust. A chipmunk joins us for breakfast, although he probably thinks he’s enjoying his sunflower seeds in solitude. Stray sunflower seeds dropped from the feeders (or tossed out by clumsy woodpeckers) have sprouted and grown into plants, almost ready to bloom. Will the flowers appear before I have to go back to California?I never appreciated how wonderful the summer rains could be when I was living here. Rain that allows the meadows and forests to be so lush, and the garden flowers to bloom so magnificently. Breathing the soft moist air seems so much easier here too.
Last Sunday would have been my parents’ 62nd wedding anniversary, so my mom and my daughter and I took a drive to the Floating Bridge in Brookfield, a legendary bridge in a little village that time seemed to have forgotten. Years ago we could drive across this bridge, but it became unsafe and was closed for a long time. Last year the state of Vermont finished reconstructing the bridge, so we wanted to see it for ourselves on such a special day. The new bridge is beautiful, and we were excited to actually drive across the lake. People were swimming and tubing on the lake, jumping off the bridge to cool off in the fresh water. A glorious afternoon in Vermont. We met horseback riders on the gravel road through the village, passing lovely old homes with summer gardens. You won’t find any fast food or chain motels here, but there is a restaurant called Ariel’s and several bed and breakfast inns. A perfect place for an intimate wedding or a fall foliage retreat. It’s only a 20 minute drive from my mother’s, but someday I’d love to spend a few days and actually jump off that bridge.
I”m glad that future generations will be able to enjoy the Floating Bridge, but I hope they never pave that road through the village.