earth, water, air & fire. the fifth element? aether…”that which was beyond the material world.”
people wonder, my own family included, why Vermont has such a hold on me. i’ve lived in Birmingham, Alabama twenty one years. it has never felt like home. my children and my animals have kept me grounded, both literally & figuratively. but i’ve never fit in here.
i suppose if i tried to make anyone understand it…i would start with my childhood…i spent most of it outside exploring the world around our very secluded 200 year old farmhouse. the house sat in front of Berlin Pond. the forbidden waters…this water was Montpelier’s drinking water, no one was allowed to set a wee toe in it. my brother & i broke that law a thousand times. in summers, walking through the shallow, mucky edges. in winter, we would skate on it.
as a teen we moved to Montpelier, about 15 miles from our farmhouse. it was then that i needed to see other people & i did so by walking the two main/state streets of downtown a thousand times. i made a friend, Liz, who’s father owned a yacht. some weekends were spent sailing Lake Champlain. her parents would tie their sailboats to others, to make an island, i will never forget those days spent with Liz & her family. her parents were smooth sailors. later on, my first boyfriend’s family, had a sailboat. his father would seek out the windiest parts of the Lake & his boat would go so fast, it left behind a white wake as though from a motor, but it was the wind that had us keeling almost vertically. my face was hit with spray & sun & i would be holding on for dear life…because i loved my life. When i was in my late teens, my parents bought a sailboat & i would join them whenever i could. my father would have loved to sail in high winds, my mother preferred the gentle breezes.
then i left. i was told it would be for a little while. just until my first husband graduated from Optometry School in Birmingham, Alabama. then, the plan was to return to Montpelier & he would buy my father’s optometry practice. i thought it would be good to see what the rest of the world was like outside my perfect little bubble.
but then i had a child, a divorce…one cannot leave the state of Alabama with their child. my younger brother moved here. then my parents & grandmother. i thought they were part of the reason that i ached for home. but no, they were not. my family lives here & i with them.
but that fifth element…aether, is what has me longing for the place where i belong. i felt it when i sat at the waters edge. my soul becoming full again. am i a nut, then? well, perhaps that is another reason for belonging to Vermont. it is full of nuts.
how do you explain aether to anyone who has yet to feel it themselves?
all photos were taken at Killkare State Park in St. Albans, Vermont.
7 Comments Add yours
I hear your voice, Amy … we can have a connection to a place that is so deep that we can hardly express it. (How archaic of Alabama! Do they not realise this is the 21st Century?!)
I’ve heard that there can be a similar Affinity to the rock structure under the land you love. I think there are many reasons you can feel the pull. In the end, what’s important is that there is a place that nourishes the soul. Beautiful pics!
I agree with you & i thank you for giving my feelings a voice far better then i could. Most think me mad for feeling the land beneath my feet as being at home & at peace. Thank you very much. ~amy
I also have a greater affinity to my adopted home than i do for the land where i grew up. And you voiced your feelings very articulately!
Thank you so very much. I wish you a very happy New Year. ~amy
I understand 100%. Starting life as a flat-lander from Ohio I’ve lived in NH for about 25 years. I’ve loved the beauty of it since day 1 and it has became home. Recently I bought a vacation house on Cape Cod. While sitting outside I realized that I felt more at home there than I ever did in NH, even more than I’ve felt in OH for years. It’s something about the air, the way the light shines. It’s the feel of it and the feeling you get from it. I never thought aether, but that’s a good explanation.
Vt is great and I can understand why you love it. The photos here and the others you posted are gorgeous.
Aesthetic aether, a longing for belonging… What a deep, passionate, intimate post.
In my opinion, no state that says you can’t leave with a child really deserves young mothers… All the best, Amy!