Tonight my heart aches for my home state of Vermont.
I’ve been glued to facebook as the photos and videos of areas I grew up playing in and around are destroyed by flash floods caused by Hurricane Irene.
The irony of my youth spent in the Green Mountain State is that everything I loathed about the area is everything I miss about it…and everything that makes this disaster even more devastating. An area very heavy with history and tradition, that fought tooth and nail, to this day, to avoid modernization. While the rest of the world constantly tries to out-do itself with bigger, faster, stronger, more, more, more….Vermont stands behind the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”. And not because of reasons many would assume, such as poverty or lack of resources…but more a deep rooted sense of pride in the way things have always been done.
I remember when I was younger thinking it was so incredibly lame that I had to drive an hour and a half just to find a decent mall to shop for clothes, and 30 minutes just to get some groceries. Instead, the land was spread out with tiny little villages and towns consisting of “general stores”, homes, churches and bridges that were hundreds of years old. You could drive through 4 or 5 different towns and never once see a stoplight or a chain/franchise restaurant/bank/gas station. I remember, as a teenager who knew everything, how “weird” it was that families consisting of multiple generations grew up and raised their families in the exact same town. Never leaving to spread their wings and explore the country. As an adult, now I realize how precious (and in modern society, rare) those family roots really are.
Vermonters have an amazing pride in their state and it’s history. Listen to the devastation in the voices of these people as they watch the Lower Bartonsville covered bridge (built in 1870) being swept away by raging waters.
Closer to my former “home”, the Ottauquechee covered bridge has been all but destroyed (this video being early in the flood, last I saw/heard the road isn’t even there and the bridge is barely hanging on), and Simon Pierce Glass /Restaurant, as well as the surrounding buildings, businesses, and Inns are most likely a loss.
To give you an idea….this is the same bridge (and the backside of the building you see in the video) on a normal day. We used to climb down those rocks on the backside of the bridge and swim in the deep water.