On May 22, 2024

Moving sticks and rocks

By Polly Mikula —A bench welcomed hikers and bikers atop Mt. Peg, May 19.

By Merisa Sherman

Then the tough choice of how to play today:
ski, bike, paddle, fish, hike, run? 

The bug went down my throat. Literally, flew down my throat and landed in the back at such speed that I had no choice but to just swallow. Mmmmm, gotta love that extra protein that Vermont provides during the early spring days. Unfortunately, it is better down your throat than nipping at your skin and leaving little blood marks.

Especially when those combine with the sap marks that I now have all over my arms that I couldn’t get to scrub off from yesterday. I could feel the sap on my forearms with no options but watching more and more dirt stick to me. Like I had tarred and feathered myself.

A good friend said yesterday, as we were shin deep in a disintegrating pile of sticks and branches and log pieces, that here in Vermont we are either moving sticks or rocks. And this week, is sticks as we are building a bonfire for a community gathering that’s happening in a few weeks. We started with pine, of course, the harsh edges scratching our skin and leaving long red marks as we throw them into the pile. Next, the sap sneaks out of the sticks, creating a beautiful pattern. 

But it’s too painfully hot for long sleeves, because we are in the sweaty days of spring. Sure, the sky is a stunning deep blue but the humidity is debilitating and the water is too cold for anything but a quick — potentially dangerous — cold plunge. Instead, we ended up standing in front of the air conditioner for a few minutes before heading back onto the porch to set and enjoy the view of our hard work.

There’s too much to do right now. We have the commitment to our properties, getting our perennial garden beds cleaned up and mulch laid down, sticks gathered from all around the property and planting all the annuals. And then there are all the fun things we want to do: skiing, biking, paddling, fishing, hiking, running — Vermont is almost too much this time of year.

I actually end up not knowing what to do sometimes, to the point where I end up not doing anything at all. Like last night, I couldn’t decide whether to walk up Killington or head over to Kent Pond for a paddle. But by the time I finished dinner and was ready to get going, I was exhausted from all the other things that I had already done that day and just sat on my front porch and enjoyed just being here.

But isn’t that the beauty of Vermont? The choices that we get to make because we have so many things to do. The freedom that we have to enjoy the outdoors in any way, shape or form that we want to in the moment. I think that is one of the things that attracted me most to Vermont. My old life was so structured, so linear, and so defined. I could always feel the weight of that life lifting off my shoulders whenever I crossed over the border. 

In Vermont, there is freedom.

Freedom to be who we truly are, to be who we want to be and not merely defined by our form of employment. It’s why in Vermont, when we ask what you do, we want to know if you’re a gardener or a skier, a biker or a paddler. Your job doesn’t define you, instead it is only one aspect of your life. This week, I have been a skier, a property owner, a paddler, a tailgater, a lister and a realtor (R).

All of those pieces make up all the little pieces of me but they also mean I am part of so many different communities — not just the one. Which keeps us all intermingled. If I only skied and only met skiers, I would be missing an entire world out there. It’s a beautiful thing to meet up with my paddle friends on Sunday nights and then hang with my gardening friends as we compare plants. And I love these final days of hanging in the parking lot with my ski buddies before heading over to the umbrella bar to meet a buyer client.

It is beautiful to see how all the different communities in Vermont all blend together, like the biggest Venn diagram. But we do blend together, all connected in our freedom to be who we are. 

Next week will be rocks as I rework the borders of all my garden beds. 

Merisa Sherman is a long time Killington resident and town lister, local realtor, member of the Development Review Board, Coach PomPom and local Realtor. She can be reached at Merisa.Sherman@SothebysRealty.com.

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