I’m Not Done Yet

When people tell me they are vacationing to Aruba or Mexico or even Europe, I’m rarely jealous.  I wonder why they wouldn’t want to see part of the United States first.  Let’s be honest – there’s plenty to see stateside, and I should know.  I suppose they are looking for exotic beaches and rum drinks, all of which we have here, so I just think they’ve done a poor job of planning.  That’s not to say there isn’t an entire continent worth of good stuff in Europe (see “In The Shadow Of A Tower,” January 2013), but personally, I think there is an entire nation chock full of good stuff I have yet to see.  When they return, I’m not curious about what they’ve seen because those locations are so far down my bucket list, I don’t even bother to add them to the bucket list.

Having seen all fifty states, I know I didn’t see everything.  I’ve only visited one Hawaiian island.  I’ve never set foot in New York City.  I’ve spent virtually no time in the western Carolinas or eastern Kentucky.  I have yet to tour the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame or sail out to Alcatraz.  I’ve spent time in Philadelphia, but not even remotely close to the amount of time I’ve spent in the District of Columbia.  I’ve sailed around the Channel Islands (see “Between Here and The Channel Islands,” June 2012), but not hiked on them.  I’ve driven through Delaware, but never spent the night on its shores.  Until I have seen everything in this country, I cannot begin to explore other countries.  But that’s just me.

Friends in Vermont

Just One Day

Now that I am finally in Vermont, I already know I do not have time enough to see everything.  For starters, the leaves haven’t even begun to turn, and that’s not a time anyone should miss.  I despise winter, yet I don’t think I can say I’ve faced the worst winter can offer without experiencing Vermont cold.  I imagine what the leaves look like as they pop through the branches at the first hint of spring, and how green the valleys become as those buds stretch into fresh leaves ready to see the sun.  And then there’s the warmth of summer – not humidly oppressive like the South or Midwest, but relaxing and soothing and slow.  No, I have just today, so I know I’m going to miss out on a lot of this state.

The object of my exploration, a friend’s house just barely across the state line from New Hampshire, near the banks of the Connecticut River feels like enough today.  We haven’t seen each other since she had two kids and I had one, and now we’d each doubled that, so regardless what else the Green Mountain State offers, seeing her and her children fills me.  Yes, I know I will need to return if I truly want to enjoy the greenery and the mountains, but sometimes a simply visit outshines exotic beaches.  Today, I gladly sacrifice a rum drink with tropical garnishes and little, paper umbrellas for the chance to spend an early autumn day in the company of a beautiful person.  Returning to see the rest of the beautiful places will make my bucket list, and will bump anything abroad farther down the list, as if it had a chance compared to Vermont.

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