I am house/cat sitting for two weeks in my old stomping grounds of Northampton. This is the town I came to when I left Vermont, so it's fitting that this is where I'll be when I leave to go back to Vermont.
After all, where else do you find a glowing John Deere on a side street in a tiny yard, where not three minutes ago you passed a young woman sporting a mohawk, and two streets over you can't walk 10 feet without gourmet food smacking you in the face.
After a week and a half in the roaring quiet of Vermont, the steady noise and human activity of this place is at once jarring and energizing. And if Family Camp was a close call to Utopia, this town is as close as it gets to living free. Solar, organic, permaculture, human rights - these are all part of every day life here. The history of two renowned women's colleges and a once thriving commune set the stage as they released their citizens into the wild of the Valley.
It can be pretentious as hell. There are more highly educated freelancers here than anywhere I've ever lived, and they all spend their days haunting the local cafés (of which there are several), gobbling up the wi-fi and looking busily important. It's a luxury many people in this country can't afford. I won't lie, I've been one of them - toting my laptop to bookstores, pastry and coffee shops, or just sitting near the fire or on the front porch. In my move to Vermont I may continue the freelance, or may take on a full time job, or both. I have to wait until I'm on the ground there to feel it out. Either way, it's an adventure of discovering opportunity.
Interestingly enough, this was not the blog post I intended to write. I meant to write about this quote from Annie Dillard:
The reason to perfect a piece of prose as it progresses — to secure each sentence before building on it — is that original writing fashions a form. It unrolls out into nothingness. It grows cell to cell, bole to bough to twig to leaf; any careful word may suggest a route, may begin a strand of metaphor or event out of which much, or all, will develop. Perfecting the work inch by inch, writing from the first word toward the last, displays the courage and fear this method induces.
It seems so apropos to the 100 words exercise, and I love the poetic, lyrical quality of it. At least I can pull this week's word from it, and that is:
Go forth word-nerds, break your own hearts.