Vermont.

27 06 2007

I feel heavier here and slower. Heavy in a solid kind of way, in a way that’s grounded both in the moment and in the land. Driving down the roads toward home this evening as the sun settled further down in the sky, I remembered days here and sounds and smells. I remembered, as we coasted down the final hill before our road, being in high school and walking these roads late at night with my friends in the summer. I heard crickets in the fields lining either side of the road, the soft sound that rhythmically lulls me to sleep at night here, when the windows are open and a breeze brings the sound from the farmer’s field across the river into my bedroom. And then there is the smell of home, of Vermont, that exists nowhere else in the world in the kind of gentle presence it has here. With window rolled all the way down, eyes closed, and head resting back, I take a series of deep breaths, each breath revealing a deeper, more specific part of home than the breath before. What I notice first is the smell of wet green leaves, still on the tree, still thick with moisture and the potential for growth. Perhaps it has just rained, or maybe I can smell the water through the leaves themselves. Whatever the case, it smells cold and wet. The next breath uncovers mown grass, that along the banked sides of Browns Trace, or lining people’s driveways. It is a warm, fresh, sunny opposite of the dark, cold, wet tree leaves, and the two smells together fill, almost, the air entirely.
I say “almost” because it’s not until we are half-way down the hill that I breathe the sweet cut hay, rolled and drying in the pastures in the fields along the final stretch home. In the hay there is the complication of the grass uprooted, offering the dark earth out to the air and into my lungs. There is the animal scent–the cows and sheep and horses that are sure to be nearby. And the manure, which because it is old and part of the ground, smells dry and natural and sweet. Around a curve toward my house, in comes the scent of skunk, once pungent and sharp, but now lingering and oddly floral. And as we turn left into our gravel driveway, I swear I can smell sugar snap peas and green beans growing in my neighbors yard across from our house. Finally there is pine tree, coming from the several that line our driveway. And as we park the car, I know I am home.

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2 responses

28 06 2007
liquid06

Beautiful post. I really enjoy this level of description. It made me stop and think. Thank you.

28 06 2007
ginacoggio

Aw, thanks!

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