Always on Our Way

On election night the sky is cloudless and a shade of almost-blue from the light of the moon. It’s the coldest it’s been in weeks, though no colder than one might reasonably expect this time of year, and I recall that two years ago, I skied on the morning of election day. Not this year. Not even close. Why, just this weekend, I swam in the pond, though it’s true I didn’t exactly linger.

I walk to the town hall to cast my vote as well as count those cast by others, the moon so bright I don’t even need the headlamp I’ve brought. At a distance, I can see the shadowed outline of the church, and far beyond and above that, the spinal column of the mountains to the east, and I think that it’s nice to be reminded that despite the crazed fever dream infecting so many who yearn for the power we might grant them, there remain still larger, more enduring forces at play.

One of my favorite things about counting votes is seeing how many of my neighbors have split their tickets. They’ll vote for our Republican incumbent governor (wildly popular, and about as moderate a Republican as one might happen upon these days, but still), then vote for the most progressive of the Lt Governor candidates, before veering Republican again. Or vice versa. For some, the votes are split evenly across parties up and down the ballot, an almost willful demonstration of independent thinking just to prove we won’t do what’s expected of us. Not here. Not in this town.

Ninety minutes later, I walk home, the moon just as high and bright as it was an hour-and-a-half ago, the sky still that endless blueblack color. I hear a large animal moving through a copse of trees at the road’s edge; a deer, most likely. Through those same trees, I see moonlight glinting on the surface water of the beaver pond and stop to watch it. It’s a new pond; the beavers moved in only the fall before last – built a dam, built a lodge, made a home – but already it seems like they’ve been there forever. Eventually, they’ll have felled the last of the trees within beaver-distance of their new home; they’ll move on, and the dam will slowly fail. Or perhaps it won’t fail, perhaps it will be strengthened by debris from upstream, making their way down the mountain and into the pond to be caught in that intricate web of sticks.

I hear a car making it’s way down the mountain road. I hear laughter and voices as others emerge from the town hall. Everyone on their way to somewhere else. Always on our way to somewhere else.

13 thoughts on “Always on Our Way”

  1. On the day after these midterm elections I find this calming to read. Clear images that tell
    me I woke up and the world is still here. I breathe.

  2. Hi Ben. I really need to live in a place that casts only 96 votes but that reality is a pipe dream for me now. One of my doctors told me on Halloween that I’m at the 17th Hole. I thanked him for that reminder of my seemingly ever faster advancing age. – The full Beaver Moon two nights ago correlates with your words about the beaver dam, at least in my thinking. I wonder if the beavers take advantage of that light while most of us are sleeping; or if they observed the full eclipse that came with the full moon and if so, what they thought about it. – Moonlit nights and their soft beauty are a gift I try to take advantage of. Before I hit that 18th Hole. – Thank you for this post and the luscious imagery you always give us!

  3. No matter how well Ben spins a tale, Vermont isn’t any closer to nirvana than wherever you live. If it wasn’t for rescue squads administering Narcan/Naloxone, there would be a lot more opioid overdose deaths by Vermonters who are attempting to chemically escape from the struggles of daily life for a state of complete happiness and inner peace. Inshallah.

    1. There is some truth to this observation for sure. One does wonder why so many people are so in need of escape these days. Or maybe one doesn’t…

      1. I think that a lot of people see material things on social media that they would like to have, but recognize that they are forever beyond their reach, and it frustrates them. The cost of living has risen significantly faster than wages have, causing a lot of people to struggle to make ends meet. Because of that gap, far too many people have to work two or more jobs to try to meet their financial obligations.

  4. The more enduring facets of the planet are the things to protect and enjoy. I love my people, but everyone else is way down the list. And good for those 96 for using their opportunity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s