Slowing Down

There’s a turkey in the backyard. He wanders in sometimes from the surrounding meadows, big and brown. So do rabbits, a small sleek woodchuck, a great red-headed pileated woodpecker, and a pair of mallard ducks who frequent the pond at the back of the property. Closer to home, a purple swift has taken up residence in a bird house next to the square of dark earth where we’ve planted peppers, onions, and squash. For several days now it’s been gray and rainy, and the silhoutte of dark green, rolling hills on the horizon is hidden by clouds.

This is Vermont, in the far northeast of the United States. We’re spending the next few months here looking after a house, garden, and pets for a retired couple who are driving to Alaska for the summer.

Where we are now couldn’t be more different from Central America, where we’ve just been. It’s so quiet and clean here. There’s no cacophony of honking car horns and yelling bus drivers; no choking diesel fumes, clouds of dust, or trash by the roadside. The grass is impossibly green. The air is cool and pleasant. You can spend hours in this feeble northern sun without feeling like it’s going to kill you. On the downside, you can’t find a can of chipotle peppers or decent corn tortillas to save your life, and the snorkeling in Lake Champlain is (allegedly) really subpar.

We’ve only been here for a few weeks and already we love it. We spend our mornings working in the garden, our afternoons doing freelance editing work and taking the dog, Jewel (part border collie/part sheltie), on long walks through the neighborhood.

Evenings are devoted to cooking elaborate meals in the airy, well-equipped kitchen and catching up on the movies and TV series we missed while traveling for the past year and a half. When we’re lucky, Penny, the soft gray and white cat, will curl up with us on the sofa. This is a wonderful, quiet, relaxing way to live. Although it will only last for three months, we intend to enjoy every minute of it.

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