There was a single lucid moment in the month of May, 1993, when our imaginations fused with destiny and our dream to move to Vermont took root.
Two weeks earlier, I suffered a miscarriage, at the three month mark. Suddenly the good jobs, the benefits, the proximity to family, didn’t matter as much anymore.
In one feverish week, we blanketed the Green Mountain State with our resumes, asking, “Will you have us?”
A lone school in Wilmington, Vermont responded. Although its name lacked the kind of charm we’d imagined (Wilmington brought to mind the huge metropolis in Delaware), the town itself seemed well situated. We immediately pulled out the atlas, and were relieved to find it located in the southern most part of the state. As flatlanders, this meant less winter. (We had yet to realize that the appropriately named, “Mount Snow” was Wilmington’s closest neighbor.)
We spent the weekend before the interview at my husband grandmother’s place in Adams, Massachusetts. Over the years, we’d enjoyed our trips to the Berkshires, especially soaking in the view of Mount Greylock from Anna’s kitchen at the top of Anthony Street. But the highlight of our visits came to be the occasional, flirtatious jaunts into nearby Vermont. While we never went very far or stayed very long, there was always a hint of something more. Without realizing it, Vermont had planted a seed inside of us.
That seed sat dormant until a handful of years later when my sister-in-law suggested we check out the hip town of Brattleboro. But it was a little too hip for us, so on a whim, we continued through town across the southern most part of the state, passing through a quaint, snowy village with beautiful little shops. “Now this is the kind of place we could live!” we both agreed, though we never even stopped to get its name.
When we returned to New Jersey, we forgot about Vermont because we discovered that I was (finally) pregnant! Our attention quickly shifted from adventure to nesting. We even started looking at houses in our hometown, something we had long avoided for fear we’d never leave.
As fate would have it, we didn’t find a home, nor did we receive the gift of the baby with whom we had fallen in love–a love that surpassed all dreams. Thus I return to the beginning of my tale when one of the most painful events of our adulthood gave birth to one of the more profound opportunities of our lives.
The day that we pulled into town for the interview at Deerfield Valley Elementary School, we had no recollection of seeing Wilmington before. Perhaps our minds were preoccupied with how much depended on this day. Perhaps the seasons here changed everything. It was February then and early summer now. More than likely, it was that our entire beings had been transformed in the sixth months since we’d passed through this place–at once thrust into the prospect of parenthood and all that it conveys, then abruptly regurgitated… back to the beginning, to start our lives anew. We returned to Vermont with new eyes.
Approaching Wilmington, this time from the west, our awareness moved from the village to the valley itself–greeted first by the vibrant Deerfield River whose strength is harnessed to provide energy for Vermont and then by the great Harriman Reservoir where once the town of Medburyville thrived. We could feel the embrace of this narrow valley, cradled within its hillsides, fields and woodlands. This well-come continued as we traveled up Route 100 to a greater expanse of sky and mountain views, past the North Branch of the river in its quiet repose alongside the handsome Wheeler Farm. Our broken hearts began to heal.
Strangely enough, as we pulled into the parking lot at the school, we realized that we had seen it once before… We had even stopped to say how “right” it looked and how nice it would be to work there, nestled into the woods as it was. We recalled the trip to the Berkshires years ago when my sister was still at college in New England and had invited us to meet her to ski. She picked a mountain in between our two locations. It had been Mount Snow.
Suddenly, Fate’s hand in our lives was illuminated. Up until this morning , we had been delivered pieces of a puzzle… first the school, then the mountain, then the town, then Vermont. Now all those pieces were dramatically brought together, and not by ourown hands.There in the school parking lot among the trees and mountains and streams of Vermont, we broke into wondrous laughter.
Having told my tale, I don’t think you’d be too surprised to know that I did get that teaching job, and that my husband and I settled into beautiful Wilmington, Vermont in a little farm house by the woods (the answer to an earlier dream long forgotten.) A year later we conceived a child and that following summer gave birth to our first son. Thus living happily ever after…
Well, it wasn’t quite that simple. There were interviews and realtors and bears, and lots and lots of snow. And of course, there is always more to tell and new dreams to dream.
But once upon a time, we asked Vermont if she would have us, to which she resoundingly replied, “Yes!”