Vermont is so very Vermont, and I wouldn't want it any other way. We stayed at a family resort there for a week, which smelled just like the Vermont inn I stayed at as a child. Fresh air and lake water, with a topnote of woodsmoke.
Jack and Will had a camp program every day until early afternoon, while John and I spent time together, hiking, talking, eating delicious grown-up food, kayaking, bicycling. Every afternoon we spent time with the boys, trampolining, riding the zip line, trying archery, or swimming. Early evenings we'd drop them off again, and then we'd attend cocktail hour, all fresh and ready for another relaxing evening of adult conversation and great food. Then a walk down by the lake before picking up the boys. Again. And again. For a week.
We were so relaxed and happy and in a completely different zone from everyday life. Re-entry is not easy. It's to-do lists and washing dishes and "I'm bored. What can I do?" and me saying, "I told you three times to wash your hands for dinner . . . Do you want your computer time taken away?" But still there's a happy vacation glow inside us, despite the heaps of laundry and piles of mail.
It was not without a cloud. We stopped by at West Point to visit the graves of my grandparents (my family is military, but that stopped with my generation). We saw that my grandfather Marvin (1929-1974, Colonel, US Army, West Point Class of 1925, WW II, Korea) and my grandmother Margaret have two new neighbors just to the right of them, Andrew Ryan Houghton and Phillip Neel. They were young men who had been killed in Iraq. Phillip's grave sprouted new pale green grass and a temporary gravestone. Phillip's gravestone slopes too much to accumulate anything like the pile of tokens left on Andrew's solid marble one. Smooth polished stones, one saying "Thank you," commemorative coins, and river pebbles line the top of Andrew's stone. Jack and Will added small stones to Andrew's grave, and balanced small pebbles on Phillip's. Said Jack, "I'm so sad."
After winding along Stony Lonesome Road to leave West Point, we went to Storm King Art Center nearby, where John and I had taken my Dad shortly after my mother had died. I was seven months pregnant with Jack at the time. We marveled that this time we had two boys with us, running up and down the hills with us looking at the huge sculptures. One of our favorites is a tilted, elongated cube with a similar shape hanging on it along one edge. The whole structure is about 25 feet high, and the hanging part seems so precarious; you just can't see how on earth it doesn't fall. Will and I stood under it for the picture John wanted. Jack didn't want to stand under the looming rusted metal, and said "I just want to go home."
So we're here, ready for tomorrow's bike parades, the town water fight, and a day off from work for John. My father (Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, West Point Class of 1950, Viet Nam) will come and we'll go out to eat. Then the sun will set on America and fireworks will go off in the night.