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Updated: Feb 5, 2018

by David Michael Kirby

ROADS by Amy Lowell [excerpt]

“I know a country laced with roads, They join the hills and they span the brooks, They weave like a shuttle between broad fields, And slide discreetly through hidden nooks.”

Driving is not something I do every day, so I need to talk about it. A car is absolutely necessary if one is to get around Vermont. Not only for hiking and sightseeing, but for groceries, dinners out, shopping, and in my case -- coffee. Especially coffee.

I forget how joyful driving can be. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, a place remarkably similar to where I am now. I learned the art of driving on twisty mountain roads, including one notable day in a surprise snowstorm. (I doubt I have to worry about that in Vermont in July, but you never know.) I’m a very good driver. When behind the wheel, on the road, I maintain broad vision, taking in everything for safety. But at the same time, most of what I see here is so beautiful, or charming, or breathtaking, I feel my spirits lifted. Since I arrived, driving here is a happy sort of deja vu.

Yesterday I drove to Brattleboro on an errand. The road wound up the mountain out of town, twisting and turning, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying being behind the wheel. When I climbed a little higher I found myself in a cloud. The fog was dense and unnerving as the new pavement had no lines yet, and the grey of the road blending into the white-grey of the enveloping mist gave me a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. I almost turned around, but literally chuckled aloud at the thought. I’m glad I stayed the course. Once the road began its descent, I was out of the fog in minutes, winding through fields, flowers, one covered bridge and an appealing village I plan to visit soon.

Brattleboro is full of flowers -- in baskets, window boxes, and planters -- and loaded with charm. Once I completed my errand, I stopped by the Brattleboro Food Co-op, a local mecca for all foods natural and organic. My one mistake was entering the store without a list. I left with a box of eclectic but (mostly) necessary provisions, and headed home.

The cloud on the mountain was right where I left it, but so were the village, the bridge, and wildflowers in the mist. I can’t wait to see and share what “hidden nooks” the road reveals next.


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