Doane: Leaving Vermont

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Commentator Larry Doane has accepted a new job that will take him away
from Vermont, so he’s been thinking a lot lately about the things he’ll
miss and the things that he’ll take with him, like his appreciation of
Vermont values – especially post-Irene.

(DOANE) I’ve been a lucky
man these past few years being able to live in the Green Mountains.
But, like our swiftly passing summer, my time here is ending and my next
assignment beckons. So, as I pack up my life for a trek southward, I’ve
become reflective on what I’ll miss and the adaptations I’ll most
certainly undergo.

I’m going to have to learn that while the
word ‘woodchuck’ is a perfectly acceptable term here for both the
creature in my garden and a fellow handy with a chainsaw, the rest of
the country seems to prefer ‘groundhog’. Chainsaws are mainly the
province of horror movies and the term logging is a misspelled attempt
to describe posting my diary online. Additionally, I should be aware
that if I make a reference to ‘The Kingdom’ it is much more likely to
get me a mention of Prince William than the Caledonian-Record. I
recognize that in the rest of the US, mud season is not actually a
recognized period of the year. Likewise, I will also learn that it’s not
necessary to begin preparing for winter at the end of August. Should it
arise in conversation, I will prepare myself to recognize that the Real
Housewives of Orange County has absolutely nothing to do with the
Tunbridge World’s Fair. Finally, I’ll have to find the self-control not
to tackle anyone I see purchasing Vermont Maid brand pancake syrup.

it’s a bit of an adjustment whenever I leave Vermont behind but this is
just the orbit of my life. I went away for college, but then came back
home to finish my degree. Then I was off again to Fort Benning and the
start of my military career. Eventually, I found my way back to Vermont
and the National Guard where I first enlisted. Now I’m leaving again, DC
bound this time, and who knows when I’ll return. But it does seem that
Vermont has a gravity all her own, inevitably drawing me back to the
rolling hills and broad lake of my childhood.

But what really
makes this place special isn’t the place at all. It’s the people. Ol’
Silent Cal really nailed it when he called us ‘the brave little state of
Vermont’. There’s a special store of bravery here in our little corner
of New England that I’ve come to truly cherish. Not just the bravery of
her citizen Soldiers, of which I have little doubt. But the bravery of
her artists, farmers or even, some days, her legislators. This brave
little state is chock full of brave men and women, each following their
own star regardless of the obstacles. And, frankly, when you live in a
place where, on any given day, the weather might freeze, drown or bake
you to death, brave is just a prerequisite. And if some day I awake to
find that all my worldly convictions have come undone. I’ll just turn
the car north and return to these hills and find that I suddenly have
courage to spare.

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