Roads Not Walked On Whidbey


Before I relocated from Whidbey Island, Washington to Vermont, I rode the bus gazing at roads I would never walk (or drive). During the four years I lived on Whidbey, I kept telling myself I would walk the trails, and that I would visit the parks. I told myself I would explore the hidden treasures, but…

Instead, I became obsessed with Vermont. This obsession began during the lockdowns when I spent too much time on my laptop gleaning trivial knowledge and looking up places. On a quest for the states with the most vegans, I came across Maine. And this state, completely across the US from Washington State impressed me with its rugged shores and views of the Atlantic. Portland, Maine looked like the perfect destination.

However, when I told friends and colleagues that I would like to move to Maine (even though I knew little about the state), they all recommended Vermont, the land of Bernie Sanders. The problem was that I became less progressive and more neutral politically as the lockdowns and mystery of the origins of COVID traveled through my brain. I began questioning everything about my beliefs, and why I believed them. Did I want to be affiliated with any party? The answer was no.

So, why then, did I relocate to Vermont only to end up without a permanent home? Why did I leave the mysterious roads of Whidbey before I had a chance to discover them? And why did I leave Washington before ever visiting the Olympic Rainforest, the Hoh Forest, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains? Why did I leave my friends and my family? Why?

Well, Vermont is magical and she casts a spell over me. Her faerie dust comes in the form of leafy trees that explode with shades of green during the spring months (plum, cherry, and gold in the fall). Her faerie dust comes in the form of brooks, creeks, and rivers that flow through forests. Her magic is in the pastures and meadows; in the songs from birds that rupture the skies at dawn. Vermont is like no place I’ve ever been. It’s the energy. It’s the enchantment. Vermont draws people to her and she doesn’t release them to return to their former homes. People come to visit and they never leave. They even transform into different people leaving the hustle and bustle cities behind. Why?

Similar to Washington, Vermont is a photographer’s dream. She attracts fine and performing artists, even circus performers. While she doesn’t boasts majestic mountains similar to the Pacific Northwest or Colorado, she retains the records of more recent history from the last several hundred years. The Goddess Ceres, who represents young women, mothers, and agriculture rules over the Green Mountain State and her signature color is green. This is a land of harvests, of hidden opportunities, of possibilities to those who can think outside the box.

Granted, I’ve only experienced the end of winter and the blossoming of spring in Vermont. I arrived when the native Vermonters grew restless and impatient for the trees to bud leaves and the sun to shine on them. When I arrived people were wearing shorts one day and parkas the next. We even experienced some snow in April, but it wasn’t much.

Perhaps, it is the Finnish side of my heritage that calls me to the state that receives the most inches of snowfall each year. If you ask my friends they will tell you how much I dislike winter. I don’t like the dark and gloomy days; ice on the walkways, or wearing several layers of itchy wool. I don’t like when the sun sets at 4:00 p.m. so why would I sacrifice my comfort to live in a state that has a 6-month winter?

Back to the roads on Whidbey. I see them in my dreams. I still have the energies of the island rippling through my blood. I was born and raised in Washington. I lived most of my life in that state. Even though I reside in Vermont now (pending without a permanent home), I’m a Washingtonian. Yes, I find it annoying to tell people that I’m not from Washington, DC, but the other Washington. Then their eyes widen and they tell me that I’m a long ways from home.

For now, that seems true. For now, the homesickness wanes a bit. But someday, I’ll call Vermont my home and I’ll live in my own home. And I’ll have a successful career working with animals and so much more. Oh, snappy snap, Vermont.

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