far too much writing, far too many photos

Driving along two-lane roads this morning, temperature in the 80’s, not a cloud in the sky. Feeling and looking like a July or August day of high summer heat (the only difference being that cornfields presently have only the barest bits of green sprouting up from the dirt instead of being dense expanses of green).

Three days ago, heat settled in here. The kind of heat normally experienced mid-summer, the kind that makes pavement ahead shimmer, gets birds singing with pumped-up joy during the day’s first hours, before the mercury heads up to the higher numbers. A bona fide heat wave, arriving early so that I can enjoy it before getting out of here in just under three weeks.

Speaking of which, I continue working away at just that: slowly sorting through belongings, getting rid of some, carting the rest to storage. Am now close enough to the process’s end that I’m thinking about things that will need to happen during the last day or two here. A couple of days that will be a freakin’ shot of pure frenzied joy, I’m sure. Or maybe not so frenzied, which would be much more user-friendly. Time will tell. (To those readers who may have a bit of sway with the appropriate gods/goddesses: any intervention by you on my behalf with said divinities would be wildly appreciated.)

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Derelict car, slowly disappearing — Montpelier, Vermont

España, te amo

Buried under things to be done. A friend came up for a couple of days early in the week to help me impose order on my storage compartment. Prior to her help, I’d go there, start trying to dig into it all, look around at the chaos, get overwhelmed, seize up. With her benign presence, the work got done in one afternoon, leaving me with a sense of space and a feeling of relief. Like, finally, I could breathe. Since then, have continued making slow headway. Slightly more than three weeks remain in the process.

The days continue slipping by with stealthy speed. And in the middle of everything that’s going on:

Listening to: Kronos Quartet. Buffalo Springfield. Groove Salad (on somafm.com). Joe Ely. Chopin. Morcheeba. The singing of cardinals, robins and a host of other nesting songbirds in nearby trees, through the flat’s open windows.

Reading: Last Train to Toronto by Terry Pindell (a great read, though maybe not for those not interested in train travel or that beautiful country that sprawls to the north of the U.S.’s lower 48). Also, La Sombra del Viento: by Carlos Ruiz Zafón — a killer read. Not as flashy as, say, the Stieg Larsson trilogy. But first class.

España, te amo

[continued from previous entry]

Anyway. Me making it all up has brought me back to Vermont for a few weeks, to sort through my stuff, get rid of some, pack the rest into a storage compartment. To empty out and let go of the teeny, tiny flat I’ve maintained here for the last year. Tomorrow I’ll have been here two weeks, 14 days spent slowly gearing up to go through things in the flat, a routine that should not a huge, hairy deal for a grown-up like myself. ‘Cause the actual getting rid of stuff or packing up stuff is actually not that horrible (at last so far — haven’t gotten to any big-ticket items yes). It’s the process of getting myself to the point of being ready to let go of stuff — that’s what provokes all that moaning and gnashing of teeth you may have heard off in the distance. A process that, you know — given that it’s all just STUFF — should not be so freakishly, hellishly challenging. But I do seem to be the product of my packrat ‘rents, and there is a part of me that begins seizing up when I find myself confronted with certain possessions that I really, probably, most likely oughta be eliminating.

It’s a good thing I did so much of this during the year I spent preparing to sell and flee my house on that beautiful hilltop. The scary thing is — given how much of that kinda work I did, how much stuff I got rid of — how much stuff I still have. How in hell do we humans accumulate so much STUFF?

Meanwhile, after the few days of spectacular weather that descended on this area a week ago, the weather turned oogly. And cold. Cold enough that the first thing I saw when I stumbled out of my lair early Sunday a.m. was falling snow. (Aaaiiiiieeeee!!) Likewise, when I roused my semi-pathetic self this morning, a thick coating of frost covered the expanse of roof that angles away from the window in my teensy loo. Fortunately, today warmed up enough that it almost began to feel springlike again. Lovely sunlight encouraged me to venture out early, me taking a while to fortify myself with a gently bracing cuppa espresso at my café of choice. By the time I made the hike back here from what passes as Montpelier’s downtown, a blue, cloudless sky extended from horizon to horizon, nicely alight with May sunshine. And as I walked past the carnage currently taking place along the length of Main Street that stretches north from the intersection of State and Main — the carnage in this case being construction company trucks, front-end loaders tearing up one side of the street, cop cars parked with lights going, as state troopers directed traffic around the work scene — I happened to glance up toward that beautiful expanse of blue sky and saw a group of hawks, so high up in that ocean of blue they were barely visible. Eight of them, circling slowly together. No one else seemed to notice them, all attention being fixed on the merry mayhem of street destruction. I continued on in this direction, making it past the small traffic circle until I stood below the hawks, where I could stop and watch for a while in relative peace.

The eight birds glided in smooth circles until one by one they began to peel off from the group, gliding lazily away. Heading north, gradually disappearing from view.

Migration. One more sign of springtime coming.

Ahhh, Vermont.

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A reminder (not that you asked): this page’s offshoot — dealing strictly with photography, one picture a day — can be found here.

España, te amo

This is the truth: I am making it up as I go along. (‘It’ = this thing that passes as my life.) It’s the case in my current sitch, it’s been the case for years. There may be a sketchy idea of the direction things will move in during weeks or months to come, but it’s sketchy and it’s open to change. I wait to see how things feel and how I feel, I ponder options — mostly in vague, nebulous ways. Decisions happen one or two months in advance (sometimes happening by a lack of any real decision). And that’s about all there is. No real plans. Me waiting to see what happens, then taking it from there.

Not necessarily the most comfortable way to do things, though I’ve arrived at the point of being mostly okay with it. And it’s been a while since anyone pushed me to do things differently. A long while. The ‘rents dropped off the twig an unnervingly long time ago now (having had me late in their lives, they checked out earlier than the parental units of most of my linear peers). What little biological family remains… well, we’re not in daily contact. Or weekly contact. And for the most part, not even in monthly contact. There’s enough distance between us that no probing questions come my way. (Which is fine with me.) No mate, no kids (at least for now). All of which gives me a whole lot of lattitude. And I’m using it.

Same goes for $$$. My lack of conventional constraints means money doesn’t flow toward conventional needs. What I’ve got gets used according to my priorities, and some of them are different from the standard issue priorities. Which has allowed me to have a class of adventures that I didn’t do during or right after university years — (Probably a good thing in my case: I had no clue during those years, and I don’t say that idly. I mostly consider it a miracle that I survived that period, me being as scarily clueless as I was.)(I like to think I have more of a clue now. Heh.) — and to live in much riskier fashion than I might otherwise. I mostly figure things will work out for me one way or another (and am not interested in obnoxious blather from folks who might want to convince me otherwise), since they mostly have up to this point. I say ‘they mostly have’ — and with me being blessed in so many wacky ways, coming out of so many strange passages and situations relatively unscathed, it’s true. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have been overjoyed to see a bunch of those passages turn out differently. ‘Differently’ meaning happier, kinder, with more enduring relationships, blah blah blah. But that’s an entry to inflict on you another day.

[continued in next entry]

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Scarlet blossoms on a day in early May — Montpelier, Vermont:

España, te amo

A week ago: fresh off a cross-Atlantic flight, with three or four hours of restless sleep under my belt, caught an early bus north from Boston to Vermont. In New Hampshire, halfway up Rt. 89, snow began coming down. Light, pretty snowfall quickly morphed into all-out blizzard, visibility gave way to white-out conditions. The storm petered out near the N.H./VT border, it was clear that it had already passed through Vermont’s green mountains. Montpelier had 1-2 inches on the ground, I’ve received reports from friends living outside town of town re: accumulations of between one and two feet. (One or two feet of snow! On April 28th! Aaiiiieeeeee!)

Yes, I’m talking about the weather. ‘Cause I went from beautiful summery springtime (Madrid) to Mother Nature acting out with neurotic abandon (Vermont). Not the first time I’ve experienced that kind of big-time contrast, but still. Kinda jaw-dropping.

The weather began coming to its senses the following day, by Saturday springtime had taken hold. Flowers and foliage that had been put on hold by late-winter-style storm returned to sprouting forth, the local world shifting to warm weather color from cold season black & white, songbirds burst into song from the joyful relief of it all. Temperatures stretched up into the ’70’s, Montpelier’s weekend farmers market opened for the first time this season. All of that feeling so nice.

None of it happened perfectly, of course, this being Vermont. Blue skies clouded over at regular intervals, showers moved through, sunshine returned until the next wave of dark clouds. By Sunday evening, intense rain and hail began falling. The kind of changes that could give anyone trying to keep track of it all a serious case of whiplash. And then on Monday, beautiful weather returned for one more early season spectacular. Temperatures around 80, sunshine pouring down from deep, deep blue skies. By late afternoon/early evening, I’d dragged my bike out, had ridden over to the statehouse to sit to one side of the big steps in front, my back against a lamppost, reading as couples strolled, families and people with dogs cavorted across big expanses of lawn, tossing frisbees, chatting, relaxing. The air warm, trees covered with blossoms, shadows slowly stretching across impossibly green grass as the sun gradually eased itself down in the western sky. Beautiful.

And here’s how beautiful it was: so outrageously, bewitchingly lovely that as I sat there soaking it all up, I found myself considering the idea of staying for the summer instead of returning to Madrid.

That’s what Vermont at its most beautiful can do to you. It can make you forget that other special places exist. It can make you forget that just the night before the local weather gods & goddesses had pelted you with hail, lashed you with torrential downpours, sent weather oogly enough to make you curl up indoors, surrendering all hope of venturing out in search of fun. Vermont can bewitch you, turn you into a blissed-out halfwit, make you think you’ve found paradise.

That was three days ago. The perfect weather had its way with us, then moved on. The mercury has plunged, the sadists in the local weather biz are going on about the possibility of snow over the weekend, or at the very least of a lengthy stretch of weather that could most kindly be described as far from user-friendly.

Bugger.

Damn you, Vermont.

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Along the North Branch River — Montpelier, Vermont:

España, te amo

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