After Montreal, I spent about three days in the lush, “Green Mountain State” that is Vermont. I was in and around the capital of Montpelier for most of the time. After spending approx. a day and a half in the French Canadian mecca, honing my accent on the five words of French I know, it was nearly impossible for me to pronounce Montpelier. I wanted to Frenchify it, say, “Mon-pell-ee-ay.” But this is America. The natives say, “Mont-peal-lee-ur.” As my friends who live there were talking about it, I practiced the name in my head, but never spoke it aloud.
Vermont is absolutely beautiful. I had been there before, but only in the winter. In the winter it’s also beautiful, but it’s beautiful in the way a femme fatale is beautiful: cold, inscrutable, either wanting to fuck or kill you. In August, Vermont is idyllic: myriad hues of green, a fresh fragrance from pine and goldenrod, goldfinches singing, and sunsets of marigold and petunia. My friends, who’d recently purchased a house, have a view of the mountains from their back patio, gardens, a canoe, and a fire pit. I wondered why I didn’t live there until the night came. There’s a primordial darkness and silence in Vermont. The darkness doesn’t bother me, but the silence does. It’s not just a decade of New York City living, either. I’ve known comparable silences in Wisconsin. My head buzzes in bed until I fall asleep. There’s something unnerving about it. Too near to the void.
But it’s a lovely place to spend some days in the summertime. We went hiking in Little River State Park, on trails with the ruins of farms from the mid-19th century. We picked blueberries, the incessant, electronic predatory bird calls screeching throughout the patch unable to mar the pastoral setting. We drank an IPA from Hill Farmstead Brewery, enjoying the beer despite the brewmaster being kind of a dick. We ate smoked meats, homemade pizzas, and, at Rainbow Sweets in Marshfield, had a delicious pastry consisting of two profiteroles filled with custard, glazed in syrup, and covered in whipped cream that the vibrant owner nicknamed “Johnny Depp’s Balls.”
I guess, to me, Vermont is a bit like Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis: It’s beautiful, almost Edenic, but you can’t have those sweet balls in your mouth forever.