As with all good things that come to an end, I feel the need to reminisce, to replay as many moments as I can with the intent to sear those memories into my brain in order to relive them when I am feeling shitty about my writing or my process or my general calling to this vocation of poet-writer. (How's that for a long-ass sentence?)
I can sense that my adjustment period is going to come to a screeching halt. The last stages of reentry will incinerate me, but I have no control over these matters. I start teaching tomorrow. There's one big reality check. The kids begin ballet classes tomorrow (what??). School starts next Tuesday. And with it: all the extracurricular activities. My writing circle begins a week from today. Various appointments (doctors, dentists, etc.) that were made earlier this summer are now upon us (what was I thinking??). Yup. My actual life is upon me.
I still have an hour or so before I have to reckon with things like ballet leotards & slippers (do we have those? do they still fit?) and lesson plans. And so, in my refusal to let go, to really revel in my withdrawal from the magic of VSC (does that make me a masochist?), I will stroll down memory lane.
Here's what I miss: I miss writing in my studio in Maverick, the writers building. I miss the sound of the Gihon river outside of my first floor window. That huge, almost-floor-to-ceiling window. The rush of water. I miss my studio. I miss that forest green armchair with the sink-in-this cushion. Perfect for reading. And napping (with a balled up sweatshirt under the head, of course). I miss the white Christmas lights I set up to create that inviting glow, to invite the muses to come in and stay. I miss being the only one in the whole building during the early morning hours. All of that unoccupied space. So quiet. So open.
I miss the Red Mill. That place where we all gathered for meals. For mealtime announcements made with the clinking of empty glasses. Slides tonight! Reading tonight! Slam tonight! Dance party tonight! Happy birthdays! That place for midday water refills. For late night coffee and secret stashes of chips. Oh, chips! Our go-to snack no matter what time of day or night. Thank you, Mobil, for being open so late and having chips.
I miss the Adirondack chairs on Mason Green, down by the river, listening to the water rush by. I miss the bridge. I crossed it at least ten times a day. I miss Mason House. The detail on the wall in the vestibule made me feel like I was traveling through time each time I walked into that house. The hardwood floors. The fantastic library. I am so grateful to have stayed there during my residency.
I miss the swimming breaks, trips to Journey's End and the Green River Reservoir to cool off from those hot humid days in a place where air conditioning is non-existent. (Vermont, they said, has mild summers. Well, so much for that.)
I miss the art supply store. That place where I felt like a kid in a candy shop. All the wonders of visual art at my fingertips. So much natural light coming in. The pastels on the "try it out" table. The pencils, the charcoal, the markers. The paper! The paints. Yes, the paints. I didn't dare to venture to explore the paints, but I admired from afar. (Though, I may consider taking a painting class now.) I was so inspired by the visual artists --and admittedly, a little jealous of their concrete art-- that I bought some of my own supplies and engaged in visual art myself. There was such wonder in creating art on a physical, tactile level. The feel of pastels alone was delicious! (I know: who uses that word to describe feeling rather than taste? Well, me!)
I miss life drawing. To see line and shape, light and shadow in new ways --it changed my vision of things for the rest of the day. I'm not kidding.
I miss the bookstore. That fantastic independent bookstore, Ebenezer Books. An incredible selection of titles --and games! And the folks there are so smart and kind and generous. This is what all indie bookstores should look like!
I miss Lovin Cup Cafe and its unhurried pace. While it would take forever to get through a line and get my iced coffee, I was actually okay with that. Of course, that's only because I had time. I was in no hurry. And what a nice thing to experience. I miss the last-minute "let's grab coffee" talks that ranged from poetry and process to straight up gossip. What I'm really saying is that I miss the camaraderie, the community.
I have my photos. I wish I had taken more. At least more photos of the people I spent time with.
For some reason --and it could be because of the amount of time we spent together, day in and day out-- I have a feeling that I will be seeing these beautiful new friends again. At the very least --and I'm hoping-- that we will definitely stay in touch.
On that note, I should probably get on with it already and fully re-enter my actual life. Now what time does the dancer's shop open?