Internet and cell coverage was spotty here and we made our way to the Randolph public library for online classes and to read.
We walked in through the basement level door that led to the small children’s area. The entire basement, was devoted to kids, even if it was just a hair larger than our trailer.We bought a temporary library card and visited with the librarian who told us about the Robert Frost trail and Lake Champlain that we should visit.
We looked for Nate the Great books and the Beyonders and went to use our new library card. I was surprised and delighted that she opened the cover and showed us the card system. The card system! My kids have only seen old library cards in their sleeves from a couple of antique poetry books I’ve collected.
Instead of hand written signatures, this card system used a stamp with the date. Each of the kids stamped their borrowed book and we left happily but with a hint of familiar angst of bound responsibilities to keep track of, which we did! All except for that one we mailed back once we got to Virginia.
Back in time. Everything we did there felt slower and calmer and who cares that the rest of the world has moved on?
We went to a fall festival expecting noise and crowds and lines. Our initial underwhelmed feelings were slowly transformed like in Brigadoon where the change of pace enchanted us and we craved more of this less.
The games we were looking forward to were no more than backyard party games like slow pumpkin bowling down a small straw ally into milk jugs. And the wheat the kids had imagined thrashing and whacking was no more than a tarp with a few stalks to thresh. But still, what was in the air? No loud music. No bells, no horns, not even a whistle announcing the beginning of an activity.
We unpacked our picnic basket just before the husking bee and it was only then we heard more than apples swinging from strings in trees. A small band was warming up. It was starting to rain and the barn dance was on my personal must-do list so we sauntered in casually keeping rhythm and moving cluelessly.
Soon the engaging caller used her powers to coordinate this group of awkward strangers into laughing, bumping, dancers.
We meandered dirt roads and scarcely marked hiking trails, tasted real maple syrup, and visited Sharon, the birth place of Joseph Smith.
We wandered through Randolph looking for the perfect place to eat. We found this little gem with a handwritten menu posted on a clipboard with items scratched out. Asking about some of the advertised meals, the owner turned around, lifted the lid of a worn-out crock pot, peaked into the case to see how things were faring and then sold us on some plates of what looked like tasty leftovers. After he and another lady washed some mismatched dishes, we were served and we took our plates past a dusty bookshelf and a lady with a dog… or was it a cat? (It was a surprise either way), to the back porch. It felt so good to be sitting and eating on a porch again. We wiped the rain-spotted tables with our napkins and relished in the experience then carefully stepped down the crumbling cement stairs to return to our home tucked in the trees of the Vermont hills.
Ready or not, crock pots and syrup and quiet trails are out there to discover. Letting go has given us so much.