Sunday, August 5, 2007

Vermont on My Mind

Vermont's just great. I don't live in Vermont, but I drive there every month or so for work. The journey is always sort of transcendental. Yep, Vermont's that beautiful. Going up there is also a compare-contrast study in political attitudes and how they play out in landscapes and people. New Hampshire, where I live, is pretty too, in a way. Congested and ugly in its few cities, but wildflower-natural and unkempt everywhere else. A state left alone, even by its inhabitants. Live Free or Die, after all.

Vermont is more of a construct, a state preserved in time, purposely red with picturesque dairy barns and green from sustainable, environmentally appropriate agriculture. Progressive and even cosmopolitan in its few cities (Burlington is Vermont's answer to Cambridge), with a social compact so strong that it's a force of nature, like magnetism or gravity. The whole state feels like a university town: people give back, protest hegemony, and eat organic. The state takes maximum interest in social and environmental problems.

Mostly, though, it's one-stopsign rural. The last time I was driving in Vermont, I came upon a cow standing in the middle of the road. We looked at each for a while, then I got out of the car and tried to shoo her to the side. At first she was disinclined to move. Then she turned and ambled away, her hooves never leaving the pavement. She was going my way, it seemed.

Eventually the farmer who owned her pulled up in his pickup truck. 'Goddamit, Friday, get over here!' he yelled, but she wasn't listening. Eventually he had to bring back a bucket of oats to lure her in.

My host said Vermont's freezers were full of recalcitrant cows like Friday. Even in Vermont, farmers aren't sentimental.

No comments:

Site Meter