Vermont: Heart, Soul, Past, Present, Future: The Collapsing Barn.

8 Jun

gulls on surfboard

Vermont green fieldFrom Sandy Southern California to Lush Green Vermont,

from My New Home of Play and Pay to My Old Home of Rest and Pray

from the City of Angels to No City of Any Kind…this land is the land of Me and Me. 

 Sandalled feet in BH

Like most people, I’ve got various homes–places where I feel as if “I belong.” How many do you have, Dear Reader?  Probably I have  too many: since I haven’t settled on one, it may be a sign that I do not  belong anywhere.

I feel at home in Santa Monica: 90 degrees, surrounded by the siren song of waves crashing, palm trees rustling, and skateboards rolling, but I am equally at home in tiny Fairlee, Vermont, where there isn’t a car or human in sight, where when they say “God’s Country,” they mean he’s right there–in the deep green grass, or spread throughout the wide-open milky  sky, or sunk in the dark eyes of the cow staring at you.

My stepmother Cleo lives in Fairlee,  and I’ve had the pleasure of spending countless summer days there since I was a teenager. Last week I went to Fairlee because my stepmother (what a misnomer–she’s been a mother, sister, and spiritual guide) was in the hospital.CLEO

It wasn’t “serious,” as in one of THOSE things that usually kill people, but it was serious. So I visited her at the Dartmouth hospital, 45 minutes away from Fairlee–and by all accounts, a MAGNIFICENT hospital. (I’d been there once before when at 18 months Noah had the croup, and Noah’s dad and I drove to the ER in the middle of the night.)  But, generally I hate hospitals, and I was upset to see Cleo not feeling herself. She was getting good care, aside from the fact that the doctors who were forty years younger than she were talking to her like she was a kindergartner (Don’t get me started).

When I wasn’t at the hospital, I drove and walked around Fairlee, and encountered the landscape in that blank, lost way you look at a place when you’re alone and thinking about the past, present, future.

Vermont barn with cows

Vermont Golden hillThere was beautiful (California-like) weather that week, and after being in the hospital a few hours each day, I’d return to walk the dog, and make a little food. But I couldn’t stay in the house alone. It was too quiet without Cleo.

Vermont Cleo's house

So I wandered. I was surprised to find that, just as in Beverly Hills, parking is an issue:

Vermont, no parking

It cheered me to see that a black cat still maintains her reign of the counter at tiny and wondrous Chapman’s Store–a place that has been around since the 1950’s, and that makes a sacrament of the word “sundries”: old-fashioned children’s games, homemade chocolate,  cards,  soap,and jewelry…the cat sleeps, and rules.

Vermont Affair

It cheered me when Cleo’s sister Deecie returned from her West Coast home, and I spent a night at her house with its beautiful land and pond.

Vermont Deecie's pond

Most of all, it cheered me when Cleo got out of the hospital; that night  she ate a little salmon I cooked, and then we watched three episodes of West Wing–which strangely and embarrassingly, I’d never seen. In the morning the beautiful, ghostly Fairlee Church (where once I was married) was glowing in a blue/white light.

Vermont church

(Like I said, it’s God’s country, and he doesn’t mince words.)

Cleo was on her feet, and I had to return to Los Angeles, another coast and realm of expectation that couldn’t be more dissimilar from Fairlee. On the way out, I took a picture of a barn in a state of collapse.

Vermont collapsing barn

Hardly even a structure anymore, it had become a new thing, something fluid, melting into nature.

“How long has it been like that?” I asked Cleo, clicking shots of the barn on my phone.

“I’ve watched it for years,” she said, not answering the question.

I got back into the car, and we wound our way down the empty road, through slow, silent green. Time was all around us, and though it was slow, I knew we had to rush to get to the airport in New Hampshire–two hours away.

I wanted to stay. And I wanted to leave. We got to the airport on time, and I got back to my life in L.A. on time, and Cleo got back home to Fairlee safe and sound. It’s been a few days, and I keep thinking about the barn. Half-up, half-down. Half in-half out.

Keep watching.


11 Responses to “Vermont: Heart, Soul, Past, Present, Future: The Collapsing Barn.”

  1. maw14747 June 8, 2015 at 4:17 am #

    Oh that barn!!! It breaks my heart.
    And “I’ve watched it for years.”……….A comment that captures everything.
    I love this searing meditation on being “out of place” and yes, “out of time.”
    But at least some things are normal: the cat reigns and sleeps. I’m off to sleep myself.
    Have some SWEET dreams, Kir. You deserve them!
    love, moi
    the interplay of text and photos is fab.


    • kwasson2012 June 8, 2015 at 4:31 am #

      Glad it broke your heart. I work on that. And thank you of for reading and commenting so thoughtfully and insightfully!!!!


    • Carol Le Seure June 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      And you , my dear, “searing meditation.”


  2. jofolino June 8, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    This was sad and soulful, pensive and touching. At some point in one’s life the decay becomes beautiful because to see it any other way is too unbearably heartbreaking. It all goes and oh so very quickly. Love your writing. It is rich and true.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. deecie June 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    You heart seems to be a hologram… depending on how you tilt it… whether in VT or CA… break…heal…break…heal…break…heal … some invisible hand tipping it back and forth. The rocking axis is always this beautiful writing and your for a photographic journal.

    The other moi….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Carol Le Seure June 8, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    I’ve always loved Frost’s “Directive” but never really quite understood it before. Your enchanting essay showed the way:
    . Weep for what little things could make them glad.
    Then for the house that is no more a house,
    But only a belilaced cellar hole,
    Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.
    But back to you–
    The movement between picture and prose is seamless.
    I so look forward to your essays.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kwasson2012 June 9, 2015 at 2:16 am #

      I don’t remember these Frost lines–thank you for quoting them: “like a dent in dough…” !
      Very much appreciate your reading and commenting so generously Carol!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. robinbot June 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

    It’s very strange to be reading my life in your blog. For the past month, every day I’ve been visiting the hospital and then the nursing home where my somewhat older friend Annette has been recovering from near death and every ailment one could imagine. Just today she came home and what I’m feeling is so – I think you said it, “half-up and half-down.” Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • kwasson2012 June 9, 2015 at 2:18 am #

      I’m sorry that this has been your life the last month, Robin, but if the blog spoke to you, then I’m very glad. Thank you for telling me.


  6. Nick DAlleva July 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    Sitting in sultry, steamy, rainy Ithaca–by the way just in time to muddy the dancing grounds at the Grass Roots Festival– and reading your Vermont musings and viewing the attached photos, swelled by aging bones with the good stuff of lush green and sunny days. I wish I stayed closer to my dad before he suddenly died of a heart attack after a short stay in the hospital for a cataract procedure. I am glad your stepmom is better.
    Years ago along with four other friends I loaded the trunk and roof of my new, yellow Dodge Dart ’71 with packs of food and camping gear my four comrades tucked inside, we set off for some real deal camping in Vermont. We found an fantastic spot down a very steep rocky trail through the Green Mountain Forest. We spent six wonderful days splashing in the fresh cool stream running by our campsite. The stream water was good to drink as per a local fisherman. On a battery powered record player we listened to the lush, haunting “Nights in White Satin” and the sweet harmonies of Crosby Stills and Nash.
    Looking forward to your next adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

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