It was almost 30 years ago when I moved to Vermont from a town south of Boston. I desperately wanted to get away from the masses of people, the noise and the pollution and live somewhere where the air was pristine and you could drink the water straight out of babbling brooks. Since my children had left to start their own lives and I had a friend living in a small Vermont town, it seemed the opportune time for a change and, after selling everything that wouldn't fit in my car, I struck out for the Green Mountains and a new life.
The beauty and charm of the state of Vermont has never ceased to delight me and I love living here. What's more, it wasn't long before I discovered that rural life in the mountains had some rather unique attributes. For instance, there are probably more dirt roads in this state than there are paved ones and a popular pastime is back road cruising. This requires taking enough time to very slowly traverse the roads that wind through the mountains and to appreciate the exquisite beauty they have to offer. Lush and green, the mountains here share the land with crystalline lakes, clear, cool rivers and sparkling brooks. Three to four hours is required for a proper cruise and to ensure the perfect ride, a picnic and some Vermont brewed beer should be taken along.
We also have five seasons, in contrast to the traditional four, the fifth being mud season. At this time of the year, between winter and spring, all of those charming back roads turn into pits of muck and mire. The mud is like quicksand and if you aren't careful, will suck your car down and hold it prisoner. I had a car get stuck so badly once that when I opened the door, the thick brown ooze crept in over my floorboards. It took a backhoe to pull me out. To those who live out on the dirt roads, mud season is the bane of their existence. The rest of us avoid them until the warmth of spring days and balmy breezes have had the chance to dry them out.
And then there is a great sport of pumpkin rolling. I do not know if it is unique only to the town I live in, but I have it on good authority that it started here many years ago. My town is built on hills, many of them quite steep. Except for the road through the center of town, everything is up and down. (Egad, that sounds like Dr. Seuss!) Anyway, you get the idea. So, on Halloween, car trunks, the backs of vans and truck beds are filled with pumpkins, the vehicles are taken to the tops of the hills and all contained pumpkins are let loose to roll down to Main Street. Much hooting and hollering is included. Your punishment, if you are caught, is to clean up the mess, but many are not caught and the day after Halloween finds the streets littered with bright orange pumpkin rinds. Strangely enough, within a day or two, it all disappears and becomes a memory.