Taking it up a Notch…

Heavy downpours overnight. A cold front passed through central Vermont late Saturday evening washing away the autumnal splendor. Trees nearly bare. Winter in the offing. A large painting to be delivered early Sunday morning to a gallery new to me. An upcoming juried show I am honored to exhibit my work in.

The Green Mountain range delights in its abundance of surprising colorful glory as my husband and I journey further north to an aptly named town, Jeffersonville. Our destination located just one Vermont county away from Quebec. Ash, Birch, Maple and Oak trees colorfully displayed amongst the many stately pine trees. Had the strong rains been sequestered to South Pomfret only?

Tree tunnels in blazing shades of reds and yellows as our car climbed and winded its way through the narrow passage called Smugglers’ Notch. An arbor of foliage surrounded while glimpses of the nearing mountain peak appeared cold, stern, and harsh. Dark ominous clouds and fog rested hard against the summit. The possibility of snow is never far off now. A large boulder sat prominently to the right as our car hugged the tight curve. One’s senses fully alive. The sweet spot where fear and wonder coexist simultaneously.

The road’s origin as a footpath feels only slightly altered. A trade embargo with Great Britain and Canada passed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807 was the impetus behind employing this once footpath. Herding cattle, illegal trade, transport of goods and an escape route for slaves finding their way to Canada is forever part of this impressive landscape. The art of survival. History reflected with every complaining shift of the car’s gears. The impossibility of the route we took left eyes childlike and wide. Butterflies in abundance. The dance of anticipation. Respect for the rugged terrain. In awe of the remote dwellers that travelled this unforgiving route so many years before…

“Only if you’ve been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” – Unknown



Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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