I have traveled half way across the United States by car, and I still haven’t found a place that bewilders me as much as my own home has. I’ve traveled to Hawaii and swam in the expansive ocean, tasted a tiny bit of adventure, however I am still left speechless upon returning to my own state.
Born and raised in the middle of nowhere Northern Vermont, I was a child yearning to leave the dirt roads and small towns far behind her as soon a she was handed a High School diploma. However, three years later, and I am still here, still driving the same half an hour into civilization every day, still breathing the same mountain air, and many people ask me why.
For those who have never been to Vermont, the allure of such a state can seem absurd. The winters are freezing, the summers are undecided, spring time is messy, and the fall seems to be the only real selling point for the few weeks (sometimes mere days) that the leaves are in full color and presenting themselves under the right sunlight. We do see our fair share of tourists – mostly leaf peepers, skiers, and snowboarders. There are the few owners of summer lake houses who flee the hotter southern climates for the North in the summer months and return home during our winters. But to live here, and actually enjoy every moment of it, seems rather crazy to every person I have had the pleasure of explaining myself to.
It is not just the beauty that keeps me returning. There are plenty of beautiful states I have seen and some I haven’t, and I am sure beautiful countries I have not had the pleasure of stepping foot on just yet. Beauty is abundant in our world and not hard to come across. I have been blown away by black sand beaches in Hawaii, and left speechless by the sunsets in Mississippi. I have felt the pulsing life of New Orleans running through me and felt so alive I wasn’t sure death could even be real. So while the beauty of Vermont is not the only thing that keeps me coming back, it sure is one of the reasons.
There are small things that I love about every season that may not make sense to some. The winter is harsh and often unforgiving, but beyond beautiful and breathtaking. The first snow almost always brings a tear to my eye, especially when the sun hits the untouched surface just right, and the world looks so incredibly pure for just a moment. Winter also brings Christmas, and all of the small town spirit with it. Dirt roads are suddenly lit on every side by gleaming red and green lights and singing erupts along the streets for days as Christmas draws nearer. When the Holiday’s are not near, winters still have a unique spirit in Vermont that rings clear.
Spring may be my least favorite season, but it still has a special place in my heart. I only enjoy it least because the snow begins to melt, and along with it the special spirit we enjoyed for a couple beautiful months. But with spring also comes the blooming of flowers, and like an awakening, people begin to emerge into the sunlight again that you may not have seen much of for most of the winter. Shops bring in new product, windows are all opened, and the smell of mud fills your nostrils whenever you leave paved road. Four wheeling and dancing in puddles is a favorite pass time for me this time of year.
In Vermont, summer never decides what weather it will bring. I have enjoyed summers of intense heat for weeks, and I have experienced summers like this last one in which it’s more like an extended spring that slowly folds into fall. Either way however, the summer brings with it a charisma and joy unique to it. As kids begin to experience freedom again, their happiness becomes contagious, and it’s almost impossible not to give in and sing along with them with the sun roof open and the windows rolled down. Hair gets lighter and spirits get brighter.
Autumn is beyond a shadow of a doubt my favorite of all of the seasons in Vermont, and perhaps a fundamental reason behind why I can not bring myself to leave for too long. Not only do the falling leafs attract tourists, but they also draw me in like a magnet. As soon as Autumn arrives, there is always a shift in me, as if with the falling of the leafs, I shed something as well. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, leaf peeping, visiting corn mazes, trick or treating, walking among the changing leafs for miles with no one else around – these are only a very few of the many reasons why I can’t seem to resist the Autumns in Vermont.
However, I am afraid I was born a traveler. I have always wanted to travel, felt it deep in my bones, and as soon as I got enough money Junior year of High School, I began exploring with an eagerness I have never felt for anything else. I know that I will leave the safe and sturdy mountains of Vermont many times again and again, but I also know that they will always be here, beautifully waiting.
If you have any similar experiences with Vermont, please leave me a comment! I would also love to hear about your favorites from your home state!