back to Fall. The sun starts to set on the Connecticut River, and shadows begin to move across the fields. We continue our way along, driving over broken pavement. As the car hugs the twists and turns, I look out the window. The road snakes back and forth, as the river meanders quiet and smooth below us. Just across the river lays Vermont, settling into dusk. On our side, I see old barns surround by farmlands, dirt drives and a past that seemed much simpler.
Is it the same across the way. The lands rises and falls, much of it wide fields, and patches of northern forest. Then there is something extraordinary. A white steeple breaks the rolling horizon defiantly. On one of these tiny sloping hills buildings crop up. I immediately recognize it as a tiny village. A bunch of houses anchored in by the church and town hall. Looking at that tiny cluster of buildings, I wish for a moment that I could stay here. Over in that village, far away from the city surrounded by quiet.
In my teens years I was desperate for escape from my sleepy town. The lights and the action of the city called to me. Whatever was out in that big world was better than what lay at home. But as I grew older, a larger part of me realized that the country is where I am happiest. There is something about the quiet nature and the slow pace that I miss. Some find this boring, but I think it is something that we lost along the way. The slow pace allows you time for contemplation and self reflection. Out here you have the time to decide the type of person you wish to be.
Little villages aren’t appreciated. There is a overhanging stereotype of small towns and those who live in them. Even those who admire them seem to do so in a superficial manner. Most of the town dates back before 1800, but every Fall tourist take pictures of nothing except the church. It just always seemed to me that visitors always were set on one focal point. In this process, they missed the picture.
Maybe its because I grew up in such a town, and I can appreciate the entire scope of things. It isn’t just the white steeple. Or the perfect houses painted white with black shutters. Its in the way that the road is cracked and bumped up, out here only getting paved every ten years or so. Its the old schoolhouse that was converted into town offices. If you walk upstairs and turn to the right, the gym still has the old basketball floor, and the windows are still caged in to prevent them from breaking. The railroad tracks that snake through town. Grass now grows between the ties and rails of the Boston to Maine. Behind the church is an old fire escape where we use to sit and talk about our plans to escape into the big wide world.
There is so much below the surface of these places. Though it is often portrayed as such, there isn’t one scene that does the place justice. It isn’t just the picturesque scenes that are captured over and over again. It is the reminders of days past that stand among us. Their silent presence reminded us what was, and where we have come from. It is the lives that are weaved in with the history and beauty of these places.