Though I am only seventeen years old and my family has not lived here for generations upon generations, I consider myself a well-worn Vermonter. I was born in the middle of an early November snowstorm. Though I was a newborn, I was already getting acquainted with a place where the weather is volatile and the people have learned not to stop when it makes things tricky. I’ve never moved away from this house where I was born. This is the house where I grew up playing in the mud of summer gardens, catching free-range chickens for slaughtering in the fall, and licking the sap from buckets hanging on maple trees when we’d finally gotten to the other side of winter. I live in a place where people understand the value of a good pair of muck boots and pride themselves on how much they can avoid the big supermarkets by sticking to their homegrown vegetables instead. Vermont breeds people who are as unpredictable as its dirt roads in mud season and just as fiercely individual as every snowflake. We are inspired by this place that is in so many ways a living breathing part of each of us. I understand the meaning of community, which is better defined in a place where we still hold town meetings and know the names of every face we pass on the sidewalks. Vermont is my community, and these are my people.
December 19, 2012