Sept. 19, 2011 (ShapeShiftas.com) -- The 10th anniversary of 9/11 has come & gone, marked this year with admirable restraint from the fear-mongering politicians who turned the attacks into their justifications for denying our civil liberties and going to war. I don't think I heard "They attacked us because they hate our freedom!" once. I'm sure the current crop had plenty of inane things to say, but I am trying not to pay too much attention these days. I have things to do and can't get immobilized with rage.
I always mark 9/11 by wearing an old ratty "I ♥ NY" t-shirt. When I was in the city, I wore it under a black pantsuit; now in Vermont with black jeans and a hoodie. It is always the most beautiful day.
The girls and I were in New York about 10 days before Hurricane Irene became what "changed everything" for us. We took the train in from VT, got haircuts, shopped, saw a show, ate Aunt Wendye's home-made mac-n-cheese for breakfast, and overall had a great time. Except for my husband, we all go visit New York any chance we get. It's where we all grew up.
But the last few times I've gone, I've been so happy to get back to Vermont. It's been hot, loud, crowded, stinky, and so very expensive. I'm beginning to think, "well, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here."
GASP! OMG!!! This is heresy! I have always wanted to live in New York since the first time I ever came to the city. I instantly felt at home there. When we moved to Vermont, it was with the understanding that I'd go back frequently. Which I have, as often as possible, exhibiting in trade shows and shopping for pillow fabrics.
But just like enduring 9/11 made you a "real" New Yorker, I think going through this disaster has finally made me a "real" Vermonter. For the last 4 years, even though we are "year-rounders", we were still considered "flat-landers." And in my mind, I was a New Yorker who lived in Vermont for now.
But now I am a proud Green Mountain Girl, part of a close-knit community of resiliant, capable, and caring neighbors. Friends and neighbors who leave you alone to live your life as you like, but pitch in to help when times are tough. We are watching out for one another, just like New Yorkers did in the days and weeks after 9/11.
At our Quaker meeting in NY, we always talked about community and tried very hard to build ours. Here, it has just happened, out of need and the togetherness that is the bonus of surviving a shared trauma.
It has taken the past ten years of squabbling, fighting, and posturing to finally get some rebuliding going where the Twin Towers stood. No one here is waiting around for the OK, they are just getting it done, borrowing excavators & bulldozers (one out of three Vermonters have such equipment, the other 2/3 want it. Every guy and most girls in town want to drive one.)
Today there are huge earth-movers and dump trucks that look just like Tonka Toys moving up the road towards our property. They say they will have a "plowable" road re-built before plowing becomes necessary. It is unbelievable what has been accomplished; granted, there has been a lot of outside help, but Vermonters have banded together and are gettin' it done! (Yep)
About three weeks ago was the first time we hiked in to our house. Everything was fine except for a really hungry cat. Down below, where the road & the driveway used to be, there were guys from CVPS trying to get the power lines back up, to get power up to the houses cut off. We stopped and talked to them on our way out. They were shaking their heads, looking at the destruction all around, saying they had no idea how they were going to get the power back on to our place. I said to my husband later, "In Vermont, that means it'll be turned on by tomorrow."
The day after, we hiked in again, and the power was on.
I will always love New York and the city life, but I have gained a new appreciation for life in the country. Guess I need a new T-shirt -
I ♥ VT!