Making a “Living” in Vermont

Making a “Living” in Vermont

(note: all photos copyright)



Watch out or Vermont will change your life.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I have some theories…

First of all, it is fantastically beautiful… each day, around some new or familiar corner, is a gift of sight or smell or sound. There is so much raw experience of nature here and it’s offered freely without human ingenuity.

Moose at dusk, Kelly Salasin

I did not search to find a young deer nibbling in the field yesterday, she simply appeared and allowed me to gaze upon her. I did not coax the leaves around my home to burst into colors dazzling my senses. Nor did I ask the apples to give off their sweet smell on this crisp morning. And I did not beckon the mists to hang in the valley shrouding the hillsides.


copyright Joanne Esau


All of this just IS– in a place where civilization and nature harmonize.

A friend of mine said that one of the strongest reasons she had for living in Vermont was the “tree to people ratio.” And it’s true, there’s always one (or a hundred trees) around when I need them… whether it be for shade or climbing, building or embracing. The woods here take me from season to season– from the lushness of summer to the naked clarity of winter.

copyright: Joanne Esau


I have a deep appreciation for the water in Vermont as well… the sound of it mostly, and the stillness it brings. I have the gift of a brook in my back yard, just off my bedroom door, and I fall asleep to its soft lullaby at night and wake in the morning to the sun rising over it… in pinks and purples and golds.

Then there are the people who live here in this place called Vermont. They are as unique and as diverse as the seasons themselves. Most lacking the knack (or need) at pretending to be friendly, but all expressing the ability to relate to one another in ways that matter most. It is their example and courage that help me uncover my own path in this world as we each embrace life here.

As a place and a people, Vermont holds a transformative energy. I feel it as a melting , a slowing down. I’ve begun to notice that there is this whole other world out there where life is moving much too fast; suddenly I’m no longer part of it.

Forest Glen by Marjorie Tudor

May Sarton writes that Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature… is an instrument of grace.’

Life in Vermont is such an instrument. The rhythm of existence here offers more of a choice in how time passes, and that is no truer than in the winter months.

copyright: Marjorie Tudor

Time stands still in a snowfall. Lives are suspended. The world reborn. There’s at least half a year for that kind of renewal here, and this is food for the soul (even if it makes me a bit crazy .)

Then there are those other fickle seasons that don’t stay around as long. I don’t think I ever gave much thought to mud until I moved to Vermont. Now I revere is as the first sign of spring (no matter what it does to my floors.)

Aidans Shoes, credit: Kelly Salasin

And when those buds start to appear on the trees, it’s like Christmas all over again. I decide that I won’t relocate or get divorced and that maybe I will have another child. The months of shoveling and the layers of outerwear suddenly make sense when what has been white and brown for so very, very long is appearing again in color.

Colors are enchanting in Vermont. They lure loads of visitors to our state each fall. I don’t know of anybody, of any age, tourist or Vermonter, who can walk by a tree on fire and not stop to marvel at creation.

photo: Marjorie Tudor

There are days when I unconsciously drive home from work, pull up to my house, walk to the door, and then freeze– as the hillside engages me in worship. All the mundane falls away and my troubles disconnect. The brilliance of nature beckons, and none can resist her call.

Perhaps this explains why Vermont is home to so many artists and artisans, poets and musicians, healers and teachers; who in their practice give back so much of the beauty they find here.

To these children, Vermont offers her deep Winters to tend their work; her vibrant Springs to recharge; her lush Summers to evoke; and her rich Autumns to nourish.

In the short time that I’ve lived in Vermont, I’ve come to know her as a LIVING, breathing being.

photo: Will DeBock

Vermont is Life– so much more than buildings and careers and thoughts.  She is beautiful and powerful. She is cold and she is icy. She calls me forth to look upon her, and to see myself in her reflection. She shows me struggle, hope, beauty and death.

She causes me to draw within and renew my ties to that which I am made.

(Wilmington, VT, 1999)

5 thoughts on “Making a “Living” in Vermont

  1. Hi Kelly, came to your blog via Episcopal Cafe. We are awaiting to see if Vermont will have _us_–we presently live in a place that sucks the life out of our souls, and Vermont, which we only discovered 5 years ago, gives it back. Some of the thoughts you mention above have occurred to us. We stayed on a farm in Huntington a good bit of the summer to assist us in discernment. We reluctantly left for home with the idea that when we return, Vermont would be home.

    Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly,

    I am also from New Jersey (South) and moved here almost 5 years ago. Your thoughts are so much like mine…I keep telling my husband that our souls are nourished up here. Everyday there is a wonderful gift, either in the birds that flock to our feeders, the deer that graze on our land, or the smoke that’s pouring out of our neighbor’s sugar house chimney. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful, peaceful place.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree more with you and Judyemer. I moved here ten years ago and the thought that I might have to move away one day brings me to tears. I came here for the love of a man, a Vermonter, but also a broken soul. And oddly enough, I didn’t know how broken I was until I moved here and slowly began to heal from the inside out. I found a beauty, peace, tranquility, and privacy that I had never known before. I learned to be quiet, still, and listen to the soul inside me that rejoiced at the mere sight of a tree or a sunset, all found in my own backyard. Vermont called my name, opened her arms, and I followed blindly, and it was the best decision I ever made. I hope others who may read this reply and wonder about their own call will follow their hearts as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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