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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Spirit of Vermont

The following is an article published in the BurlingtonFreePress.com. Please take a moment to read this, as it sums up what the whole "spirit of Vermont" is about. You all know by now that I love the Vermont landscapes....... the mountains, rivers, streams, lakes, forests, villages, churches, winter snows, fall foliage, the green of the Spring grasses in the fields, and the abundant wildlife. All of these things hold a special place in my heart........but the whole spirit of Vermont is it's people and sense of community.
                                     "We Are Vermonters"
  
"The spirit of Vermont rises from our strong sense of place.
Asked where we are from, we would proudly proclaim, "Vermont," before naming any town or village. That sort of distinction is something we keep among ourselves.
When disaster strikes even a remote corner of Vermont, the pain shivers across the state. When the devastation is widespread, the pain strikes at the heart of the state.
As a woman watched the Williams River swallow up the Lower Bartonsville covered bridge, the anguish in her voice spoke to Vermonters across the state as they woke up to Irene's aftermath.
The destruction in our midst tested the spirit of anyone who experienced or witnessed the loss. Sunday, when Irene struck, the state watched as streets in Brattleboro, Waterbury, Barre and others turned intorivers. In the days following the storm, the news kept getting grimmer.
Lives were lost. Entire towns were inundated. With no passable roads, phone lines down and cell phone coverage negligible in mountain valleys, the extent of the damage -- and need -- in a dozen communities were unknown.
As the picture came together, Vermonters began to realize that the damage was of historic proportions. Few people outside our state can truly understand the power of water rushing off a mountain into a narrow valley even in a normal spring rain, or how deeply people feel connected to each other in this state.
The images of destruction are difficult to comprehend.

Uprooted coffins scattered along a riverbank.
A thin layer of pavement hanging over a washed out roadbed.
Houses crushed flat by the force of the water.

The scale seems too vast for a state as small as Vermont. Just as indelible are the images of Vermonters turning out to do what needed to be done.
Hundreds of volunteers rushing to save the harvest on small farms from rising flood waters in Burlington's Intervale.

A sheep hitching a ride to safety in a kayaker's cockpit in Richmond.
A worker at an electric company shrugging off long hours dispatching work crews to repair storm damage with, "This is what we do."

Vermonters stand by their communities in the face of hardship. The question after the storm was always how to rebuild, never if. There is no question that we will do the rebuilding together.
Gov. Peter Shumlin countered the notion that Vermont towns cut off by the storm were truly stranded. "If stranded means you're left with no hope, then it's not true," he said.
Hope comes from knowing that washed-out bridges and downed power lines cannot sever the ties that make a community, that you can count on those around you, and that you are not forgotten.
Els Walker cleaning up storm wreckage in Wilmington put it this way: "Vermont's going to be okay -- because everybody's helping their neighbors."

Vermonters love their state, but we know that this is a love that takes hard work. Life has seldom been easy in the Green Mountain State. We take on the work together, and we know we can count on fellow Vermonters.
This is what we know.

Never more than when the state is tested are we Vermonters first.

This is the spirit of Vermont."

Here are  few of my older images, which in my view, captured the spirit of Vermont. I hope you enjoy them.










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