Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Though most of the leaves here in Vermont are slowly giving way to a red, yellow or orange hue, we’ve still plenty of green to go around. For me this month has been filled with community gatherings. Each in their own way have lifted my spirits, made me laugh, and made me pleased to be part of a larger whole.

Definition 1 green~ A pop culture term to generalize all of the environmentally beneficial and sustainable means of mitigating the impact of human industrial development and the damage of previous degradation of the environment.

This Columbus Day Weekend, instead of heading to the beach, I headed to the hills. Cedar Circle farm held their annual pumpkin festival and I was asked if I wanted to volunteer my services as a photographer. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. The benefits are great (free shirt, free food!) and it was a chance to see many of the children who have since grown out of my library storytimes. I was amazed at all of the offerings: music, crafts, face painting, cider pressing, horse-drawn wagon rides, great local food and a field of pumpkins just waiting to go home with over excited children to be carved and lit. My camera was never far from my side. I clicked and clicked, pleased to be there amidst the harvest. There were over 1800 people who attended this year’s festival, with only two and a half bags of garbage collected. Everything else was recycled or composted. That’s definitely a commitment to the environment that we can all try to adopt in our own way. I can’t wait for the strawberry festival, I hear it’s just as much fun.

Definition 2  green~ A common or park in the center of a town or village

The center of our town serves as a gathering place throughout the year. We host many events, including picnics, May Day, concerts, and the Fair. Every other Fall we host an event called Giving Bowls. The premise is this: local artists make ceramic bowls, the children (and other community members) glaze the bowls and bake bread. Local businesses donate soups and we gather on a beautiful day in October to eat, drink and be merry. The money raised goes to a different charity each time. This year I volunteered to work in the silk screening both. Seeing that there were many capable hands ready to turn blank t-shirts into works of art, I grabbed my camera and proceeded to capture as many images as possible. I love seeing so many of my friends and neighbors together in one place. This is the event I eagerly anticipate, even more than the Fair. (Which I certainly love; but a good bowl of soup, in a beautiful bowl that I get to take home gets my vote every time.)

Definition 3 green~ a color whose hue is somewhat less yellow than that of growing fresh grass or of the emerald or is that of the part of the spectrum lying between blue and yellow

For years my fellow knitters have talked about the October sale at Yates Farm. On Saturday they serve a breakfast, and their yarn is displayed throughout their old farmhouse. I have always wanted to go, for it sounds like a version of Christmas that truly must be experienced rather than just imagined. This year I managed to swap my Saturday work schedule in order to see the sale for myself. It was even more lovely than I could have possibly imagined. The farm, the house, the yarn—I didn’t know where to look first. I got the tour and then decided I had to have my camera. I desperately needed to take some of these images with me, maybe even more than I needed the yarn. (Who ever thought I would write that sentence ?!?) Everything was so thoughtfully arranged, both the yarn and the furnishings. The whole family was there helping out with the sale. The daughters were ringing people out, the grandsons were telling the adults when the yarn was low, and one of the granddaughters had spent the morning putting the colorful skeins just so onto the table. It certainly was a labor of love, for the whole Yates family, and the community certainly appreciated it.  As I sipped a cup of coffee I watched people go by loaded up with yarn, the open skeins slipped over their arms. Each person that went by seemed so happy, and I realized it was because they were planning, and dreaming of possibilities. Of the sweaters, scarves and hats they would make for their family and friends. I managed to limit myself to a few skeins. I chose a beautiful blue-green yarn that will be perfect for a sweater I have had my eye on. This winter as I knit (and knit and knit) I will remember my time at the Yates Farm, as well as the day spent at the Giving Bowl and the Pumpkin Festival. I will trust that white snow will certainly one day give way to the verdant green grass. These are the thoughts that will keep me warm.

For more images from each of these events, please visit Flickr

Sigh.  Holidays can be tough in our house.

Take Halloween.  Friday night was the cub scout Halloween party and when you are three and a half, the cub scout Halloween party is a really big deal, up there with Christmas, your birthday, and your first trip to the dentist.  But the party starts at 6:30 and you have been up since 5:30 (in the morning) and have had no nap so, of course, when you are three and a half, you fall asleep on the way there and stay asleep stretched out on the floor over by the janitor's closet where other parents give you and your mother weird looks.  Even though your mother loves you so much she gives you her own coat for a pillow.  Until she gets cold and has to take it back, but the floor isn't THAT dirty.  And then, when you are three and a half, you wake up on the way out to the car and wail, "Why are we leaving?!" because for you the party has just begun even though for everyone else, especially your mother who needs a glass of wine, an aspirin, and a few hours of Modern Family, it is really, really over.

Poor B.  He was confused and his feelings were hurt.  But he did rally enough the next day to wear his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume for several hours and make great use of a green glow stick brought home by one of his brothers.  I know, Halloween is still days away and chances are very good that his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume will rip, burst, tear or shred before we go trick-or-treating, but I don't think he would care, and he likes to practice being...a mutated turtle with enemies.

Apparently, though, since he missed the party and only knew the glow stick in daytime, he had no clue of its true powers.  After tucking him into bed Saturday night, after reading him a story, kissing him, kissing his plastic spiderman and finally turning out the light he called me back in with a voice half-panicked, half-bewildered.  "Mommy," he gasped.  "It glows!"  His sweet face was lit (in a sickening sort of way) by the clammy green light of his glow stick and I was struck anew by the true meaning of Halloween.  It's not about goody bags, gorilla suits and fake blood.  Well, it is, but it's also about that shivery fear of the otherworldly.  The gruesome potential of might-have-beens.  It's about being a kid who believes in both the benevolent and malevolent sides of magic.  And glow sticks.  It's about glow sticks.  Which are just cool and do not even explain to me how they work, I don't want to know.

Next Week’s Word: Salt


  1. Oh ANdi- my favorite of all your posts by far!

  2. Soooo great to read your stuff and see the our world through your eyes, my dear. It's truly a beautiful and wonderful place when *I* see it but having your take brings it breathtaking.

    Love you!