Oh My Water-logged Love, My Home, My Heart: Vermont

Where my tagline says “Tools and Tales for Breaking Up, Waking Up, and Falling in Love” I want to be clear: I don’t just mean breaking up with your boyfriend…I mean heart-break in all its forms, I mean broken open, I mean things not going as planned, I mean grief and renewal, I mean water washing away the bridge. And not just metaphorically—but actually, as happened to many bridges and houses in Vermont this weekend due to hurricane Irene.

I lived in Vermont for fourteen years. Vermont took me in and made my life, stayed me, held me, sang me songs, put me up, gave me homes and family and fed me, again and again. From nineteen to thirty-four Vermont taught me what it is to be a neighbor, artist, citizen and lover. I know, it isn’t exactly right to say that a whole state takes one in, but if it is true anywhere it is in Vermont where in no time at all you know everyone (if you’re like me and you have fifty seven part-time jobs)…or at least everyone you know knows everyone else and so basically you know everyone.

In this way, Vermont will make it through this heart-break, this wreckage, this devastating economic, infrastructure blow. But the flip side of this is that Vermont is rural and poor. It is hard enough to scrape together a living there and harder when all the roads are washed out. A number of towns in Vermont are completely cut off by water right now. Here is a video of medicine being delivered by horse back.

Vermont needs help. It needs to be taken in by all of us. It needs volunteer help in cleaning up, it needs donations of food and supplies, and it needs financial resources. Please consider making a donation to Vermont Red Cross.

I sat with my friend Sophie this morning as we surveyed the internet in shock, discovering the devastation back home in Vermont. She remarked, “If you know someone from Vermont, you know someone who lost a road, a house, a car, a bridge, a local business, family photos, access in and out of their house, or their first day of school.”

My friend Verandah Porche wrote from Vermont:

Storm-spared. Wind split maple across the Corners. Neighbor lost power. Wind took my corn: sweet, tho small. Dilly beans & peach cobbler. Dinner party carrying dishes around felled tree, under wire. Today eerie clarity: swam in the hollow. Clouds jittered on ripples. Reflected on change. Charging waters. Unnamed creaks roared over banks. Rocks pulled from beds. Hope the rebuild provides jobs as after the flood of 27 & hurricane of 38. Vermonters know how to hoe out & need work.

Here is a video of some of the devastation. I got the link from my friend Ginny who said of the footage: “Very powerful, but only scratching the surface.”

Please consider making a donation to the Vermont Red Cross. Or if you are in or near Vermont and have a pair of muck boots or galoshes here is where you can find out about helping.

I know that many places along the East Coast were hit hard by the storm and need assistance also. If you would prefer to give to the national Red Cross or to another area in need you can go here to do so.

Too much devastation? Need some joy? Well, Freedom is Coming… Here is a video of my favorite group of people on the planet (Vermont teenagers) making some JOY (Note: These teenagers are singing as part of the Governor’s Institute on the Arts….life changing Vermont program that takes place on the campus of Castleton State College that right now is at least partly submerged by water. Singing begins at about one minute on the video. Don’t miss the clowns at the end).

So please: give money, send love, sing for Vermont, bring a shovel and come.

PS: Here is an amazing story about cartoonists and friends saving the cartoon library in White River Jct. from the rising waters. And another story about neighborliness and patience. And amazing photo coverage of among other things people saving their pigs and sheep with kayaks.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark August 31, 2011 at 7:45 am

Nothing like a powerful display by Mother Nature to open people’s hearts and get them connected in my experience. May the restoration and rebuilding process help maintain even stronger connections.

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Marlene August 31, 2011 at 9:02 am

Wow! Seeing is powerful. I am so sorry, and abundantly grateful. Thanks for sharing this, Jasmine.

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