Faith Gong

03/24/2020
I wasn’t sure what this column should be about. Then, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write it. Last week, I thought, “Everyone’s writing about the new coronavirus, so perhaps I shouldn’t. Maybe my column can be a refreshing break from the news of the world.” But it quickly became clear that to write about anything other than the COVID-19 pandemic that’s sweeping the world would be to ignore an enormous elephant in the room, as the number of confirmed cases rose across the nation and entered Vermont, and as the first Addison County resident tested positive.  As the COVID-19 numbers climbed...

THIS COMFY CHAIR may be a chair-and-a-half, but it’s still not big enough for all the Gong Girls.
03/10/2020
I’ll be honest with you: It’s not easy for me to focus on writing this column. Last night, we turned the clocks ahead one hour, but the baby seems not to have noticed. And it’s 46 degrees and sunny outside, with only a few patches of snow on the ground. (If you’re not a Vermonter, that’s amazing spring fever weather this time of year!) I’ve sent my family off to open barn at the sheep farm, and about the last place I want to be is inside forcing my exhausted brain to transcribe coherent thoughts while the ducks are having a party on the lawn outside. But these signs of spring give me hope...

FAITH GONG
03/09/2020
Now that we have a new baby in the house, one of the first questions I get asked (on rare occasions when I appear in public) is: “How are you sleeping?” The implication is that, because babies are known for waking multiple times in the night to eat, my husband and I must not be getting a full night’s sleep. This is true, but it’s nothing new: My husband and I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in almost thirteen years. To be fair, due to our rather rapid reproduction rate, we had an infant in the house for the first six of those thirteen years. But even after our first four children were no...
02/25/2020
Now that we have a new baby in the house, one of the first questions I get asked (on rare occasions when I appear in public) is: “How are you sleeping?” The implication is that, because babies are known for waking multiple times in the night to eat, my husband and I must not be getting a full night’s sleep. This is true, but it’s nothing new: My husband and I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in almost thirteen years. To be fair, due to our rather rapid reproduction rate, we had an infant in the house for the first six of those thirteen years. But even after our first four children were no...
02/11/2020
After a fairly lackluster winter, we had our first big snowstorm yesterday. Today, the world beyond my windows is gorgeous. Because the snow was preceded by ice, the tree branches bend low and glitter in the sunlight as if they’re encased in glass. Temperatures have yet to rise above freezing, so the snow still lies heavy on the evergreens. I’m unsure of the total accumulation – I’d estimate somewhere between 8 to 12 inches – but the fields are blanketed white, and the remaining hay bales in our neighbor’s field look like marshmallows tipped on their sides. The sun came out today, in a bright...
01/28/2020
Our children had some friends over this past weekend, and they decided to embark on an outdoor adventure. The negotiations, as I overheard them, went something like this: “Let’s pretend we’re on the Oregon Trail!” “YES!” “And also, some of us could be runaway slaves.” "Okay, that works; that was around the same time.” “I’ll be the Quaker person helping the slaves escape.” “And also, we’re orphans….” If they hadn’t been so insistent on historical accuracy, I’m pretty sure they would’ve added a couple of Jews fleeing the Nazis for good measure — they’ve played that before. (Jewish orphans, of...
01/14/2020
One thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks is that we are able to endure a great deal more than we believe is possible. Life is not a benevolent tutor, handing down lessons one at a time in order of increasing difficulty; instead, life often feels like an opponent in a boxing match landing a punch in your ribs and then throwing a jab to your eye while you’re still catching your breath. The remarkable thing is how many of us remain in the ring. We may be hanging on the ropes, bruised and battered, but we don’t go down. This is why, when I found the mangled carcasses of two of our chickens...
12/31/2019
I have never been a big New Year’s person. As an introvert, I’d rather be curled up at home in pajamas with a book than at a late-night party. The transition from one calendar year to the next doesn’t excite me much, and resolutions have always struck me as futile attempts to delude ourselves that a new year will bring automatic personal renewal. But this year, as 2019 becomes 2020, I’m doing something I’ve never done before: I’m choosing a word to focus on for the new year. The word is THRIVE. My word for the new year is a rebellion against the diagnosis handed down to our infant son, but it...
12/17/2019
“I can’t stand it! I just can’t wait any longer!” I hear these words from my daughters on a daily basis, it seems. Sometimes they’re spoken in frustration, sometimes in excitement. Always, the object of their waiting is something pleasurable, wished-for. It might be a birthday, time with a friend, a destination, or simply dinner. These days, of course, it’s Christmas. The problem is that they’re not there yet; they have to wait. “It’ll come,” I tell my daughters repeatedly. “Just be patient.” Right now, we are smack in the middle of Advent. The major Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter...
12/03/2019
We were just between the main course and dessert of our Thanksgiving meal, when my daughters asked when we could start decorating for Christmas. Once I’d convinced them that it was not appropriate to begin ripping down the Thanksgiving gourds, turkeys, and autumn leaves and to retrieve the Christmas boxes from the basement immediately, they began happily making plans for the Advent season in between bites of apple pie. “Oh, I can’t wait to make the Christmas cookies!” my ten-year-old exclaimed. This, while we were still shooing the dog and cat away from the turkey carcass on the counter,...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100