Column
September 7, 2016

Vermont heals

Vermont heals

By: Marguerite Jill Dye

Updates on the election and news from across the globe seem surreal in our peaceful mountain setting, where we can shut out the frenzied chaos by meandering in nature. We are blessed to be far from much of the world’s distress, although we well remember Irene from five years past and recognize Vermont’s own economic, social, and environmental challenges.
“Meander” seems to be the word for today because that’s what my brain wants to do. Busy schedules, phone calls, emails, and news can create a constant stream of notifications and alerts, demands and requests that easily overwhelm. Overload. Living in society today is an experience in overload, so I want to pause and share a few dots I’d like to connect.
We attended the second annual Middlebury Film Festival where our friend Sandy Gartner’s short, “UnSpoken” had its premiere. It is a couple’s true story of loss and grief, hope and birth that puts tremendous stress upon their marriage. Fortunately, the continuity of life and new birth ensue. Filmed in Rutland and beside Lake Bomoseen, nature plays a healing role.
“Unspoken” was perfectly paired with “The Guys Next Door,” a documentary about two loving men whose surrogate friend gives them two lively daughters to complete their beautiful family. It is filled with humor and love, laughter and insights into a different kind of marriage that spreads joy and goodness from New York to Maine, where they eventually settled. It is eye- and mind- opening for those of us who are rather old-fashioned and naïve to the many faces of love, leaving the viewer wishing those two great guys and their little girls lived next door in Vermont.
I haven’t been to Canada in decades and Duane and I are looking forward to driving to Niagara Falls and attending the Shaw Theatre Festival in the charming village of Niagara-on-the-Lake (Lake Ontario) with the couple that inspired the story and weathered the tragic storm in “UnSpoken.” They have become dear friends and we support one another’s life challenges, encourage aspirations, and dream big dreams whenever we’re together.
Yesterday, Sandy and I reviewed the manuscript and color corrected “Where is Sam?” It is a lovely story of hide-and-seek Sandy wrote for her grandson, who covered his eyes with his hands to hide. I created a magical world with paper cuts illustrations, and when a bear passed my studio, I added him to the book.
Does art reflect life or life reflect art? Do we cover our eyes to hide from everything we don’t wish to see, then uncover them to view the setting we prefer? I do. When the world’s negativity and conflict overwhelm me, I retreat to nature to create. It is a form of meditation that heals, soothes, and inspires through beauty and tranquility.
We concluded the day with a sunset supper at the Lake Bomoseen cottage of our friends’ cousins, retired teacher and author, film maker and poet from New York City. Conversation turned to their families’ flights for their lives from Nazi Germany on the cusp of World War II when they were young children. They witnessed their parents’ disillusionment, horror, and then, determination as they rebuilt their lives and contributed the talent and diversity that help make our country great. Once the children grew up (one block apart), met, married, and had their own family, they meandered their way to Lake Bomoseen and discovered the solace and peace of Vermont.
No matter the depth of our trials, tribulations, or traumas, Vermont heals. It is a blessing that we all share.
Marguerite Jill Dye is an author, poet, and artist who lives in the Killington Dream Lodge her dad and family built and also in Bradenton, Fla. with her husband Duane Finger. She credits Vermont and “Mountain Meditation” with bringing out the philosopher in her.

Photo By Marguerite Jill Dye
Nature is reflected in Dye’s works, as is this bear that passed in front of her during a review of a manuscript.

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