Sunday, November 02, 2008

new england

What do you do with an extra hour? Save it? Ignore it? Sleep it away?

We’re in Woodstock, Vermont. I look at my travel clock and mentally push it forward, because I’m out east, then push it back, because of the time change. So it is as I had it two days ago.

It’s early. Before sunrise. A good time to go out hiking, no? To watch the sun come up over the mountains, see the village wake up…

I set out.

How did it get so cold so quickly?

There’s a small mountain behind the b&b. I think the Rockefellers bought it and donated it to the National Forest Service. Surely there must be a path up to the top?

There is. As I climb, the sun pushes up over the mountain crest. Good morning, sun. It climbs, I climb. We are in step with each other.

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At the summit of my small mountain, I am handed a view. Hoarfrost has spread over the valley.

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And now I want to share it. Why didn’t I wake my daughter for this? I turn around and prance down. But not so quickly as to miss these:

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Yesterday, at a local shop, the seller told me that there were few deer around these years. Really? Do I have a scent that attracts deer? I see them all the time outside Madison. I saw them on the Civil War battlefields of Virginia. And now here, on the small mountain behind my Vermont inn.

And they’re not easily spooked. I inch closer with my camera. They look up, listen to the click of my Sony and go back to grazing. Until finally one takes flight…

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… and the other eventually follows.. Looking back one more time, to see if my camera will again make that clicky sound. It does.

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And now the forest is quiet again.

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At the b&b, our British hosts serve us porridge, and eggs with roasted tomatoes.

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Why are they here, in Woodstock, running an inn?
We were both in book publishing in London and several years ago, we decided to try something new.

(This is the b&b on the outside, but it’s the whimsy, the satire inside that makes it so completely charming as to place it among the beloved.)

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Book publishing, book writing, inn keeping – why the overlap? In Brooklyn, our b&b hosts were also book and media people.

Should I open an inn? Where? (A purely hypothetical question. No resources to spiff up anything anywhere.)

My daughter and I set out up the mountain. No deer now, in the bright sun of daylight. But it's still so pretty!

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And now it’s time to head back. The car is due by 2:25, or else I’ll be charged another day for it. We barely make it.

In Cambridge, I walk to the grocery store. The distant one. I take the long way, by the Charles River. A man sits on the bridge looking sort of lonely up there.

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I’m really feeling the cold air now. On the way back, the branches of basil in my bag wilt in the frost. I know, it’s to be expected. It’s November.

Tomorrow I head back home. Where the deer and the antelope play… More like deer and prairie dogs.