Home and Away, Dorset, VT

October 18, 2016


There are any number of mobile homes, trailers and campers scattered across the north country landscape, though perhaps fewer than a decade ago. Many of the larger ones appear to be primary homes. The smaller ones seem only intermittently used: weekend getaways or hunting camps. This one looks to be a vintage Airstream Travel Trailer, ready for the open road.





Title compliments of my friend Mike Hamer, who grew up in this area and from whom I first heard the phrase “the fabled birches of Island Pond”. Other views (in different weather) here and here.



This place has one of the great community bulletin boards in all of New England, and a wonderful ambiance as well. It’s right in the center of Johnson, and yes, with some good food and coffee, too.



I heard an owl a few nights ago; a soft and beautiful succession of hoo-hoos that woke me up around 3AM, like the call to prayer of a muezzin.

I wonder if it was this little one, who had fallen out of its nest in a nearby white pine over a year ago, and – thanks to the quick response of neighbors and the crew at A Place Called Hope, in Killingworth CT – shortly thereafter re-nested. The crew built a new platform directly beneath the existing nest, lined it with some white pine branches, and placed this little one back up in the tree.

The owl family seemed to leave the area shortly thereafter, perhaps related to the noise pollution of a new house going up nearby. But that is now behind us, and the neighborhood for the most part is quiet again. And the Great Horned Owls may be moving back into the area.



My friend Larry A. and I were talking about our grade school education in Catholic schools (his in NYC, mine in VT), and the experience of nuns as teachers. It was a fine start to our education, we both agreed, emphasizing as it did those all important basics like reading.

I am extremely grateful to those teachers – and my parents who so believed in education – for giving me every tool they possibly could to prepare me for what lay ahead. If I have any regret, it’s in my own lack of attention to what was offered.

MANY MANY THANKS to each of you, wherever you are now.

Alternate Title: Where E-Readers Fear To Tread.

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Vermont poet David Budbill – whom I never met and know only through his poems, a birthday tribute earlier this year, and the stories of a mutual friend – recently passed away. He said that stacking firewood was one of the great joys of life. A NYT obituary is here.

I suspect he would immediately understand that the wood in this photo was not put up for personal use, but for commerce. From what I glean from his poems, his firewood aesthetic was more akin to ours when I was growing up: the wood stacked neatly in a barn, with kindling in a separate adjoining room. Our stacks were easily eight feet high at the start of the season. I have no idea how many cords we used, but it easily could have been six a season; the wood stove was the only source of heat in a two story house up until I was ten or so.

There really is nothing like wood heat to take you through a long winter.

Rest in peace, David, and may your continued journey be filled with Light and Love.


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