Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I've had a grudge against Vermont for a long time.  It's a silly, useless grudge, I admit, especially since I've been holding it  against an entire state based on the actions of one silly girl far too many years ago for it to be even remotely relevant to my present day life.  And yet, I held on to it, nursing my ancient hurt.  Until this weekend.

Mark, my mom's boyfriend grew up in Island Pond, VT, about 20 minutes away from the Burke Mountain ski area.  He  and my mom recently brought my family up there for the weekend, a Christmas gift trip.  Mark, Kirk, my husband, and Will, our 8-year-old son, skied both Saturday and Sunday while my mom and I poked through the towns of East Burke, Lyndon, and Lyndonville. 

In the back corner of one of the little shops we visited, trapped in between shelves of teacups and dishes and what appeared to be a red velvet chair from the front of a church, I spotted it--a secondhand spinning wheel.  The price?  $50.  The catch?  The store runs, like many up there, on a cash/check only basis, 10 minutes before closing, and unlike every neighborhood in suburban Boston, there wasn't an ATM in sight.  Oh, plus the whole "how in the world will I ever get a spinning wheel home with our 17 tons of luggage crap?" thing.

I left armed with the name and phone number of the store owner.  Mom and Mark are heading back in that direction next weekend, and if I call her, and the wheel is still there, she'll hold it for the time it takes my check to get there, then keep it in the store until they get there to pick it up.

I have always wanted a spinning wheel.  Never mind that I have no idea how to spin.  It's something I do in the life I imagine I live.

In the life I imagine I live, things are much simpler.  Not necessarily easier, but simpler.  There are chickens in my backyard, and maybe bees, too.  And a garden.  I finish the knitting projects I start, and the craft "room" is just an extension of the living room, not a sad and dusty corner of the office.  I cook really great meals in the life I imagine I live, and I share them with my family and friends around a big wooden table that overlooks the yard where Kirk's alpaca's roam.  Often they include veggies I grew myself (because in the life I imagine I live, my thumb is much more green than black).  What I don't cook right away, I can, or put in the root cellar, because I have those skills and that potential there in that life.  Will and I play together a lot, in the kitchen, the living/craft room, and the backyard, and he's a much happier kid, there in the life I imagine I live.

I've long realized that this life isn't entirely out of my reach, but although I capture bits and pieces here, way too many things (the kind of things my friend Craige would refer to as "first world problems") get in the way of working toward it in any seriousness.  But there, in the middle of Vermont, I realized that all around me were people living that life.  My imagined life.  Without me.

I let go of the grudge. 

The whole way home, Kirk and I talked about what it would take to make that kind of a move.  In the beginning, it was a fanciful conversation borne out of a fun weekend.  But somewhere in New Hampshire, it turned serious, and by the time we crossed into Massachusetts and drove into the Expressway traffic, I was ready to pack for real.  Not tomorrow.  Not this year.  But soon.

In the meantime, I'll plant a new garden in my yard here, learn how to do some water bath canning, and finish a couple knitting projects.  As soon as I make room for my new spinning wheel.

Look out, imagined life.  Here I come.

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Comment by Cornelia on January 19, 2012 at 12:11pm

Thank you, Jennifer. I loved reading this and have had this conversation with Tim many times. We'll see you in VT! Our Alpaca and your Alpaca will provide us with matching socks, and we'll have you over for meals at our big table overlooking the hills.


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