“It must be beautiful this time of year in Vermont — al those [leaves].”

28 September 2010

Ever since watching Bing Crosby in “White Christmas” as a wee little lass, I’ve wanted to visit Vermont. Yesterday, I drove in, astonished by all the beauty along the way. Growing up with no more than a mesquite tree here and again shows to all the people I’ve met on this trip. They think it’s pretty funny that I get so excited about the trees. But in Vermont, there’s good reason. There are colours on these leaves that I’ve never seen in my life!

The hostel in which I’m staying now is inside the Green Mountains National Forest. Yes. Inside the forest. It’s a huge log cabin run by a sweet couple and their son. Since I am the only one here right now, the owner gave me a private room with a large bed! I have a huge bathroom basically all to myself, too. After three nights in big city hostel rooms that were jam-packed with girls from all over the world, speaking all sorts of languages, this is a nice change. Last night, I was able to write a bit and think about the story that will accompany the Camden Peter Pan statue. Following that, there was a long and wonderful night’s sleep.

This morning I woke up and drove into Bennington, Vermont. A HUGE adventure awaited me. Upon driving to Robert Frost’s home here, a squirrel ran across the street, and unfortunately became roadkill under my tires. Fighting back tears, all sorts of thoughts came to mind. One: I’m going to the home of Frost, who writes about nature. Two: I’ve just been cursed from ever being a great Romantic poet. Three: I just killed a squirrel, and he’s flopping in pain behind me. I know. Awful.

It was really sad, but all I could do was drive on. So I drove onto the road that Robert Frost once walked upon. There was only one car there — a man from Nebraska that was talking on the cell phone. Neither of us had known what time the Museum/House opened so once he got off the phone, we both walked up the path to the house where we waited for about 15 minutes.

He looked like a poet to me, maybe even an artsy person from a good story. He held a gigantic to-go cup of coffee in his hand. We talked about Texas and how great a country it is. Then we talked about how excited I was to be at Robert Frost’s home, then about how I was an English major. His daughter happened to be an English major as well, and she says that she’s an English major because it means she’ll be smarter than everyone else. I laughed pretty hard at that one. He asked what my favorite Frost poems were. and we talked about those and whether or not he wrote them in the house before us.

The museum lady finally came up the path and opened the doors for us. We followed her in, and I got out my five dollars to pay. He got out some money, too, and he handed it to her, saying, “Let’s just make the rest of it a donation.” It was apparently a lot of money because she exclaimed, “Thank you. All of it? Why would you want to give this much?”

And then he replied: “Well, Robert Frost was my great-grandfather, so, yeah.”

Yup. That’s what he said. No lie. And he was acting like it was no big deal. I discussed Frost poetry with a Frost. Now, that is a big deal.

I was stunned. We wandered together throughout the house, and neither of us said anything. It was so funny. Ashley in a state of shock. Eventually, he went down the road to get another big cup of coffee. Enough time to gather my thoughts. The museum lady & I decided that he might like to have some pictures next to his great-grandfather’s house. When he came back, we did a little photo shoot, and I even got in on a picture with him!

After my encounter with Frost’s great-grandson, I visited Robert Frost’s grave. There I met an older man — from Michigan — who came to see the grave. He is a poet inspired by Frost as well. We had a good time getting to know each other in the graveyard, which I suppose sounds creepy. But at the time, it was great.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up early and drive about 7 hours to Niagara Falls. Tomorrow, I’ll be in another country. The day after tomorrow, I’ll see the Toronto Peter Pan statue. Could this trip get any better?

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