Water can be beautiful. I have fallen asleep listening to the sea through an open window, water-skied (in my youth!) on beautiful Lake Mead, and seen many awe inspiring waterfalls, including this one on Rt. 100 in mid-state Vermont.
That is until Hurricane Irene! She started up from the south creating havoc as she went. When she arrived in Pennsylvania we thought she had just about done all the damage she could possibly do. Basements up and down the Susquehanna River flooded and mud everywhere. Several towns still have not recovered from her visit. But it was nothing compared to what happened in Vermont!
Just recently there was an article about mid-state Vermont and the lack of tourism this season. People, it seemed, were staying away thinking it was not prepared for visitors and the economy was suffering. We decided to go, never in a million years expecting to see what we did. and what was that? Beauty ~ nature’s beauty and the inner beauty of strong Vermonters trying to get back on their feet, and at the same time helping their neighbors! We saw this from the time we woke up in the morning to dusk when we decided to call it quits for the day and we also saw this . . . and our heart would break! Somebody’s family was now starting all over. No sanctuary to return to each evening, no familiar surroundings to wake up to. Children uprooted from a familiar routine and a mother with no kitchen to provide a dinner for a family. We pictured a life that had been.This would be the scene on one side of the road, andand this would be the scene on the other side of the road! People still waiting for a bridge to be repaired so they could travel home! Tour buses were still on the road, but they were taking the leaf gawkers away from scenes of this nature and would be parked in rows in places like Vermont Country Store in Weston, Ben and Jerry’s in Waterbury and the outlets in Manchester. We saw those, too, but that’s not where we spent our money. We dropped our money in jars at service stations to help a town get dumpsters for the piles of garbage they had to get rid of, a tag sale in a large building, where I found a few books but gave $$ to help their town’s victims of Irene, or just patronizing a restaurant a cafe that was trying to get back on it’s feet. This “used to be” a farm. Irene deposited piles of rocks over fertile farmland that will never be farmed again. We were told even if the farmer could remove the rocks, Vermont will not let him farm again because of the contamination under the rock that would seep into the food. Neighbors pitched in and offered him a plot on their property and now he farms up and down the road on different neighbors land! The spirit of the people of Vermont is unbeatable! and this man retained a sense of humor . . .the green sign says “Free Plymouth Rocks ~ Help Youself!” After you cry, you laugh. The orange X’s on this mobile home indicate a condemned status ~ the sign in the window? “For Rent.” After you cry, you laugh.One of the first signs of a sense of humor we saw, though, remains one of our favorites, though. We had to turn around so I could photograph this one!. . . but the sign we saw the most of was the “Thank You’s” posted up and down Rt. 100. Vermonters, above all else, are a grateful people.