Extra Summer

Extra Summer

I’m desperately grasping.
Toward what remains.
All that is local–from the earth right here in my garden or the farm stand up the road or the farmer’s market downtown tucked beside the brook encircled by trees.

Yellow peppers sing in my mouth.
I don’t know what they’re singing
But I can feel the vibration.

Parsley. Dill. Leafy greens.

What tomatoes do, is so intimate, as to be unspeakable.

A sacrament of my senses.

Holy.
Rapturous.

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Guest Post: Katie & Lily

Guest Post: Katie & Lily

18 years ago, I sold my childhood pony to a wonderful family in Connecticut–in order to buy my next horse (I was quickly outgrowing her–even prayed her legs would grow.)

It was probably the first “adult decision” I had to make, and it was a hard one.

I made a list of all the things I wanted my mom to tell her new owners. The most important being that if for any reason they were to need to find her a new home, I wanted the first option to buy her back.

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Well 18 years later my pony has come back to me.

It’s a fairytale ending.

I am grateful and my heart is full.

~Katie Forsley

a love letter to a town

a love letter to a town

In 1993, my new husband and I relocated from the Jersey shore to Vermont after I was hired to teach third & fourth grade in Wilmington. We lived in a little cape beside Green Mountain National Forest for 7 years–the longest I’d ever lived in any one place. That property just went on the market, and although we left it seventeen years ago for a home we built for ourselves, the little house and it’s neighbors still hold a tender space in our hearts.

Tonight, I came across this letter that I wrote to the newspaper just after we left the Deerfield Valley for a mountaintop town, 12 miles east. It’s nice to be reminded of how welcomed we were once upon a time.

To the Editor

Although our family has simply relocated to neighboring Marlboro, I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly thank some of the day to day people who touched our lives in Wilmington:

to Fire Chief Brian Johnson, who was not only our first neighbor for a short while, but also responded with his crew to more than one call to our home over the years;

to retired Police Chief Tom Donnelly whose involvement in the community, especially in the schools, was beautiful;

to Deerfield Valley Elementary School (where I taught for a year), its staff, students and parents who served as my first community in the Valley;

to Harriet and Vivian at Pettee Memorial, who always made coming to the library a joyful experience for myself and my son Lloyd (we are forever grateful!);

to the checkers at Grand Union who never failed to marvel at my children (special mention to Joanne for the video tips);

to Michel (from Berkely and Veller) and Lynne Matthews who were much more than realtors to us when we arrived as strangers to this area;

to Mr. Gerdes, who I have never actually met or even seen from out behind the steering wheel of the school bus he drives–thank you so much for the daily waves, it’s hard to convey the significance they hold for me;

to Deborah and Wendy at the post office, simply for being there every day;

to the guys (and gals?) who do such a good job on the snowy roads;

to the Valley News for letting us know what was “happening” each week;

to the people who create and organize the annual events which help define and enrich the seasons of our lives;

to Len Chapman, aka “Uncle Lenny”, our landlord, and Diane Classon, and to their families (and to all our neighbors in Medburyville), who became our “family” in Vermont and provided a beautiful place for us to grow;

and lastly, to the many others who I have not mentioned- on behalf of myself, my husband Casey Deane, and our sons Lloyd and Aidan–thank you for being such an important part of our lives in the Valley.

Sincerely,
Kelly Salasin
Marlboro, VT
2000

For Sale

For Sale

Our first home in Vermont.

The sweet little cape in the back of this photo–at the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest–with a brook & a tire swing & a treehouse in the backyard.

Chickens & horses & mice & bears.

Antiquing, weddings, cookouts, cocktails & neighborhood town meetings in the barn.

Landlords, like family.

Communal gardens & holidays & heartache.

The longest place I’d ever lived (1993-2000.)

Taught 3rd & 4th grade.
Left teaching.
Ran a few non-profits.
Worked at a pizza parlor & a video store.
Became a mother.
Lost my mother.

Babies conceived, miscarried, delivered & breastfed.

Lloyd turned one, two, three, four, five.

Aidan born upstairs.

Casey became a teacher.
Both of us turned 30.

Published my first piece of writing.

Found yoga.

Claimed home.

Listing: https://hermitagedvre.com/listing/4639628/38-new-england-power-company-road-wilmington-vt-05363/

Home in Vermont

Home in Vermont

Almost as soon as I began to set my roots down in Vermont, a quarter-century ago, it began to change me. It wasn’t always pretty, and it was frequently painful, particularly given my level of resistance, and yet, I also gave myself to it–surrendered to these Green Mountains & brooks & black flies & breasts & babies and found myself inspired by the older sisters I never had–first the homesteaders and the healers, then the advocates and the activists, the mystics and the artists--sometimes younger than me, sometimes male, and always among them–fertile permission to live my life as art–which for me means moving forward in the dark of not knowing for sure.

“Eccentric,” a college classmate once accused me, “If not for that, you’d be successful.”

She may have been right, but I wouldn’t have been  “home” in that kind of success.

heat wave

heat wave

Bird Egg Feather Nest, Maryjo Koch

Tiny chirps let us know that the eggs in the nest above our light fixture have hatched,
and so this year, having failed yet again to prevent her nesting there,
we re-arrange our tiny porch to better accommodate feeding & flight,
which is to say: poop;
while eagerly awaiting the sight of little heads popping up from her moss wrapped nest.

She comes every year.
Last June Casey saw each one of her chicks take flight.
She’s been my steady companion this cold spring–flying out each time I arrive home or depart,
and then as the weather warmed, flying back and forth to the nest as I watched from the kitchen, fixing meals for my family, while she fed hers.

Last week I introduced her to a friend.
We’re all Mamas after all.

But then a day went by, and I realized I hadn’t seen her, and then another, and I was almost certain I hadn’t, so this morning, I asked Casey to check.

And all the little chicks are dead.

There won’t be poop all over our porch after all.

june 2017, marlboro, vt

Sign of Spring remembered

Sign of Spring remembered

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

I miss the Reading Lady on Williston–that tiny road on the back side of town.
She was my favorite sign of spring.
Appearing there on the porch of her aging Victorian.
Layers shed beneath gingerbread lattice
While the season unfolded into summer.
First a cup of tea and a blanket.
Then a glass of lemonade and a sun hat.
And always a book (and reading glasses.)
Well into autumn.
Right there on the corner as I drove by.
Did she move away or worse–pass away?
I like to imagine her on the coast of Maine.
Overlooking the ocean or perhaps beside a quiet bay.
Waves lapping at the dock
Where she reads
And reads
And reads
While the world
Spins
A bit slower
Around her.

~

more on the gift of a woman’s presence in Vermont:
The Flower Lady