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Averyt: Cows And Clean Air

After years of planning and dreaming, false starts and delays, my son, daughter-in-law and two young granddaughters are on their way to Vermont, choosing as my husband and I did thirty-plus years ago, to move here to raise their family. They're trading the fast track for the slow lane, fleeing the big city to settle down in Vermont, choosing the not-quite-great lake to call home.

No more problematic plane flights and weather delays for me to visit my "kids". No need now to reintroduce myself to my granddaughters after a six month hiatus. Kudos to my son and his wife for pulling it off, for finding a way to make the move - finally - happen.

But then I drive down Shelburne Road at 6 pm, dawdling in traffic, thankful for the radio to help me make it through rush hour. I sit at a red light reflecting on all the cars on the road and the fact that the infrastructure just isn't adequate for the crush of traffic. Softly I mutter... close the floodgates, halt the influx of newcomers. Then I catch myself, say... well stop the migration after my family has arrived.

I also know that in moving from urban Washington, DC to semi-rural Vermont, my children will be exchanging one set of problems for another. Vermont is not the same place I moved to thirty-five years ago with my young family. It hasn't escaped the blight of the urban drug culture and all its spin-off problems. The cost of housing here, of heating - the costs of living in Vermont can be daunting. And our taxes hover amongst the highest in the country, while well-paid professional job opportunities are limited.

But long ago I decided life is about trade-offs, about the road taken rather than the road not taken. Well before she knew she was going to relocate, my three-year-old granddaughter decided she wanted to be a tractor driver when she grew up. Now she’s thrilled knowing she can visit cows on the farm – never mind emus or the camel who lives on a Ferrisburgh farm or the chickens, pigs, and perhaps a summer lamb or two that a friend raises in Warren.

My granddaughter did go blueberry picking last summer, and she's expert at building snowmen and making the most wonderful snow angels. But she hasn't tried on skis or ice skates yet and there’s pressing homemade cider, tasting sugar on snow and so much more that lies ahead.

I can’t wait to welcome them home.