Over Two Years ago I left my home to go to VT. Oddly the last person I spoke to was my first friend. When I arrived in St Albans my first friend was who runs the local gas station. We joked and he wished me well.
As I departed town a gentle rain picked up. The beginings of a thunderstorm started. It was almost as if VT didn't want to let me go. My thoughts were of many friends I will never see again Earl the cat and Northwind. I manuvered my car through the swampy backroads hoping to catch a glimpse of a great blue heron and wondering about Northwind. I was still feeling bad about Northwind entering Alburgh when a border collie came out of nowhere and ran into the back of a passing truck. It didn't seem like there was great contact. The dogs lie prone as the driver before me stopped transfixed. A grieved woman ran out with a young child but it was obvious how this story would end. I was thinking about the symbolism of Northwind and as much as I could that story too has the same ultimate ending. Sooner or later I had to return home and even if I could make a home there her fate was as sealed as that in front of me. Many of us delude ourselves with what love can overcome, but her problems are beyond what I or likely any other person can handle.
I was thinking of the irony of a thunderstorm obsuring the rugged beauty of the Northway. I pulled into the first rest stop to gather my thoughts and read about the Yankees. The French music oldies station I listened to was no longer in range. I sat thinking of the many fine friends and of that always hungry cat. I never knew how many people's lives I touched. I thought of the odd joke from my office party "If I knew I was leaving I might throw my self a party. Scratch another flatlander from VT.
Just as a smile crossed my lips out of nowhere the sun broke. I would be able to at least enjoy the stunning scenery of the Northway. I turned on the radio and "Dirty Deeds" was playing on the radio. It was time to get down to business. I prepared for the drive to the High Peaks rest area. Overhead falcons hovered amidst the stunning backdrops. There were great flocks of small birds migrating in the same direction. I also saw a huge Red Fox whose fate was sealed on the Southbound passing lane. I never encountered a fox as roadkill before. The coat was a brilliant redish orange hue.
I always try to stop at the High Peaks Rest area at mile 100. I gaze at the exhibits of wildlife pictures and the cliffs in the distance. I feel weak and tired so I get a snack and ponder the beauty around me. I will not see this type of landscape soon and even in winter it is still picturesque.Perhaps when I go to Brunswick my trip will give me a reminder. Twenty miles out of high peaks I can no longer get my local VT radio. I now have two choices NPR or a Christian station. Unexpectedly the signal from Albany picks up the local talk radio station. I listen for the next twenty miles. Apparently some local teacher made a plea deal after being caught having an affair with a student. The talk show host and the local DA bantered over the sentence.
I approach New Baltimore starved and I have never seen it so crowded. There are Chasidic Jews, Caribeans, Tourists from Europe. I call my parents who were concerned. The heat and humidity were brutal. I stop for gas amazingly it is always at the same pump on every trip.
When I depart New Baltimore I hear the familiar WABC jingle. It is as if a long lost relative has joined my trip. I can pick up the Yankee game from my home station. I stop in at the Walden Rest area to read Nanc and TMW wonderful comments. The landscape is less rugged and tamed. I tave the Thruway for the Garden State. On the Jersey Turnpike the lanscape is now all steel and Iron. I cross the Goethals and am now on Staten Island. I expected the traffic would be worse. I pull in exausted and ask my mother to repark the car.
I am home my voyage is complette but I am too exausted to even make it upstairs and fall asleep on the floor of the living room.
The Vermont chapter is closed and I will always cherish the memories and friends. I get a call from a coworker in VT. He packed his family up and went across country to avoid the term drama. He went across the country to get a permanent job in MO. He returned after passing the writing test. He took the day off and went to his old cube where I saved all of his things and reassembled them waiting for his return. I left my clunky box fan in his cube. I even left a calendar and a Mountain Dew and Cheetos in the desk. Beaks I'll save the box fan for your return and he thanked me for arranging his cube to its former state. "You'll be back Beak".
I remind him that while VT was very good to me it was never my home.
I always would look to the South and wonder how things were in NYC. Perhaps if it was night I could get WABC for a spell. Vermont was a fine place but it was never home. NYC is my home and I yearn for the energy and subtle wonders like Street Food.
I think of Northwind and know the final chapter is on the way. One can not live long as she does.
Perhaps now she is cursing me for leaving her behind. She doesn't belong in NYC and without her lifetime friends and disfunctional family her few days would be reduced further.
There will be new chapters and adventures ahead in my book. I have new tasks to learn and a series of new coworkers to figure out. We all fear the unknown, but sometimes a leap of faith is required to move ahead.
Beamish in 08.