It’s been a surreal few days here in Vermont. Our lake and our house emerged without a scratch from the hurricane and the floods, but all around us is devastation that I have not seen in person yet. I am following everything on the news and the pictures tell a horrifying story of the roads, the villages and the landscape just minutes from our place.
There are thousands of people posting online that they are available and willing to help with flood relief, offering supplies, equipment, time, etc. I want to do this too, but my sense is that perhaps there may be an overabundance of this type of intention right now, so I need to do some more research to figure out what I there is I really can do.
I am worried about our Athens friends and their cabin in Rochester, Vermont. Susan was there alone during the storm and I haven’t heard anything or been able to get in touch with Joe about how she fared. There is no way to get to Rochester right now because all roads are blocked and it is one of the dozen or so towns still officially stranded.
It is definitely a strange feeling to be safe and untouched here in our vacation home. I don’t know if you’d call it survivor’s guilt or not, but this is a summer getaway, not our necessary shelter, and I can still sit here with my power, my internet, my amazing view, and my tranquility and go about my day as if nothing happened. If our cabin had been washed away or squashed by a tree, it would have been devastating to our family and those who know and love our lake, but not in the same way as it has been for the thousands of people who lost their businesses, their year-round homes, their pets, their farms and their villages.
Now that I think about it, this is probably what has been bothering me the past few days. We love our summer home very much, but if it were gone, all it would mean is that we wouldn’t have a summer place anymore, and that would be that.
I am beginning to wonder if I will ever have a settled summer, or if it flows in my blood to plan trips, look for new places and experiences, and sacrifice calm and consistency because I value being with my far away family even more. This summer we have not had a lot of visitors to the lake; the difference has been in our constant motion without my actually being busy in any kind of sustained way. We drive a few hundred miles, then catch our breath, do some laundry, sleep, say goodbye to whichever family member(s) we won’t be seeing for a few days or weeks, then drive a few more hundred miles. To camp. To Ohio. To Vermont. To Traverse City, Bellaire and Ada, Michigan. I do not think I can do it again this way.
Tomorrow morning Anna and I are going to drive to the lake and settle in. We’ll take stock of our food needs then go to the Middlebury Natural Foods Coop with our recipes and our grocery list then return to the lake and set up house. My head feels like it’s filled with cotton candy, a sure sign that I need to be with my own thoughts for an extended stretch. This is sooo long overdue…wish us luck, for we both need it!
I’m having a hard time figuring this summer out. So much has gone on. I have driven from state to state and bed to bed…where have we gone, who we have visited, what have we truly seen?! Now it’s mid-August and I am ready to return to Vermont for the third time. This is my favorite time of the year in Vermont, when the lake is quieting down and everything is cooler and more serene. There are rarely visitors or renters to anticipate. The summer has not been unpleasant at all, though, just one full of motion. My writing course, visiting Midland and my childhood home, last week’s Michigan trip, and time here in Athens are all new things that happened this summer.
It feels, though, like the busiest and least relaxing times this summer have been at the lake, like it’s been Opposite Summer or something. The first stretch I had too much work to complete and was single parenting for much of it. The second stretch was only two weeks long, with an extreme heat wave and visiting family to keep us busy. Jetta loves the lake more than any other place, but because Mom and Dad have a new puppy, we had to keep her tied more often than not, because she sometimes takes issue with other dogs and a run-in would have been, well, unacceptable. She also developed separation anxiety and did some damage to doors and window frames when she was in the cabin and we were not there.
Everything has just been slightly different, oddly shifted somehow. This morning my parents are going to the doctor to talk about Dad’s memory and start the process of determining what’s happening and what to do next. We kids are worried but relieved that finally this business is in motion after so long. To even go there in thought right now – well,I’m not sure any of us are ready.
On a lighter note, I am blogging slacker these days and have very little excuse except for travel fatigue. Nothing more to say, really. As soon as Anna and I settle in at the lake and have life to ourselves, I think I will be able to post daily or every-other-daily again. I hope so.