Column, Living the Dream

Living under the unfamiliar sun

By Merisa Sherman

Almost every morning this summer, I have been awakened by the sound of the clouds dumping rain. From one up to five inches an hour, the rain creates an almost demeaning sound on my metal roof. The rain has dominated this summer. I can see hints of color in my garden, but the flowers have almost no hope of opening. The lack of sun has forced many of them to either stay closed or risk being pummeled by the harsh rains. Friends have replaced their vegetable gardens three times in a desperate attempt to grow anything at this point. We finally get to travel, but what’s the point when it’s going to rain the whole time anyway?

But not today! I woke up this morning to see little patches of something called “blue sky” peeking out from behind the clouds. It wasn’t much, but it was still more color in the sky than we have seen in months! The unfamiliar light was so blinding that I actually needed my sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun and not just the mud splattering up from my front tire. Were the clouds actually going to give way for a day and allow the sun to shine? I grabbed for my phone just to be sure and was absolutely amazed to see not a single green blob on the radar. It truly was a weather miracle!

And so I quickly loaded the car with just about everything I could think of, desperate to not waste a single moment of sunshine. The car was laden down with toys and ready to go: hiking shoes, a bike or two hanging off the back, a harness and some rope, a boat strapped to the top with a bag of golf clubs thrown in for good measure. There is almost no room in the back for the dog and she gives me a withering look as she rests her rump on my golf clubs. Vespi doesn’t get to play golf and she wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be wasting her sunny day on the course!

I paused for a moment before pulling out of the driveway. I had everything ready, but where were we actually going first? Last summer when the governor designated a 10-mile radius as part of StayHome StaySafe, we quickly checked what was available. For us Killington folk, not only are there miles upon miles of hiking trails up a variety of mountains, two ponds and a reservoir, one river and two golf courses, there are also plenty of mountain biking trails, both downhill and cross-country, a rock climbing crag with beautiful views, a shooting range, a disc golf course … the list goes on and on. Although we had lived here for over 20 years and done all the things, we couldn’t believe we had not realized how close together everything truly was!

Our little bubble of Vermont is jam packed with all kinds of activities, for all different ability levels. From this reality has developed a long loved Killington tradition: the multi-sport day! What better use of the close proximity of everything in our little world than to do as many sports in one day as possible. Who doesn’t love a good triathlon of fun, especially when dancing to live music or playing pool at the bar counts as one of the activities. That’s the best part — you get to define the triathlon in your own terms, it’s just all about getting out there and having fun. In fact, the dancing is oftentimes my favorite part of the day.

This past week, I had the privilege of starting my day with a quick jaunt up a very muddy Deer Leap, followed by a peaceful paddle on Kent Pond. It was a little sticky underneath the trees (just because it’s not raining doesn’t mean the humidity has dropped any), but I dried off soon enough as my canoe glided along the water’s surface. Two almost exactly opposite activities — one was all lower body in the shade, while the other all upper body under the unfamiliar sun. But they had one thing in common: the view of Pico Peak standing proudly in the distance, reminding me that I had not gone very far.

With the sun shining, we choose to play outside as much as we can. We play when we can and choose never to take any of our beautiful Vermont life for granted. For where else could we be blessed with so many wonderful choices and ways to celebrate our lives? As the French philosopher Albert Camus stated: “Life is a sum of all our choices. Thoughts become words, words become actions. Actions become habits, habits become character — Watch your character, for it is your destiny.” So how will you choose to play today?

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