Bryan: Dear Vermont
Vermonters have historically been considered taciturn. And this reminds me of the story of the old Vermonter who was said to have come in from chores one morning and was so moved by the presence of his wife that he blurted out. “I love you so much that sometimes I can hardly resist the urge to come right out and say so.” So I’ve been wondering what I’d write if I sent a Valentine to Vermont.
I couldn’t decide on a caption, so I considered how I might finish the sentence "Dear Vermont, I love you because…?”
I thought it would be easy - but it wasn’t. So I did what many writers do when they hit the wall. I cheated and did some research. Here are some of the results from a few of Vermont’s best known lovers.
President Calvin Coolidge: Dear Vermont, “I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people.”
American Historian, Bernard De Voto: Dear Vermont, “There is no more Yankee than Polynesian in me, but when I go to Vermont, I feel like I am traveling toward my own place.”
Senator George Aiken: Dear Vermont, “I've never been at home in Washington… Home's up here in the mountains in Vermont where I've always lived.”
Patriot Ethan Allen: Dear Vermont, "The gods of the hills are not the gods of the valleys."
Writer Dorothy Canfield Fisher: Dear Vermont, "When you pass the state-line you may hear someone in your car say… Oh, can't you just feel that now you are in Vermont? What a difference."
Poet Walter Hard: Dear Vermont, “Boredom does not thrive in the Vermont climate.”
Vermont Historian Ralph Nading Hill: Dear Vermont, “Certainly [your] ancestors... were wayward. Rebellion is their birthright. Then there is the land. There is a surprise in every turning of the various landscape of Vermont - a mellow field, a dark woods, a merry lake, a somber gorge, a bold mountain. And so it is with the people. Perhaps the strength of the hills is theirs also.”
Finally, here’s one of my own, which first appeared in a 2006 Vermont Life Calendar.
Dear Vermont, “There are times when there is no way to walk the hills of [a place like] Peacham, and not weep with the beauty of it.”