Laurie Cox

With a bit of optimism on a late winter day, you put on your boots and outdoor gear, thrust a couple of tools in your pockets, grab a stack of buckets and lids, and head into the woods. It’s about to be sugaring season. We began sugaring shortly after moving to Ripton. I don’t remember how we acquired our first set of slightly dented, sometimes leaky buckets or the less-than-perfect taps, but I know why we got them. We were aiming for as much self-sufficiency as we could manage, and here was the wonder: You could drill a small hole in a maple tree (make sure and know which ones are maples!),...
As we approach this year’s Town and School Meetings, things will be very different, especially for those used to attending in-person meetings for voting, or informational discussion. This year, all meetings will be virtual. Conversations that happen quite literally at a distance also tend to feel more remote. Of course, the budgetary amounts represent real dollars, and the names on the ballots represent real people. The issues are also real. One of the names on the ballot is Chris Kramer, who is seeking to be the Cornwall member on the ACSD board. (All district towns vote for this position.)...
“If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the State, and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little town of Ripton.” Shamelessly paraphrasing President Coolidge, these remarks could well speak to Ripton’s 163 to 107 vote on Jan. 12 to keep the town’s elementary school open by withdrawing from the Addison Central School District (ACSD). We are indeed a brave little town. One reporter, calling the day after the vote, fired off questions about the many difficulties and hurdles in our way...
Riddle: Why did the man throw the clock out the window? Answer: Because he wanted to see time fly! I can still see the accompanying cartoon in my big sister’s book — a round alarm clock with little wings flying from the window. That may be when I first realized that words can have different meanings in different contexts. As a young child it struck my interest, perhaps because of that fascinating portrayal of a winged clock. Sometimes, when we speak with each other, our words head in completely different directions. We think, because we use the same vocabulary, that we are talking about the...
“If you build it, they will come,” is a phrase that haunts the main character in the movie “Field of Dreams.” In that film, the thing to be built is a baseball field for spectral players from the early 1900s, but it got me thinking, and not about baseball. It got me thinking about the reverse of that message: “If you tear it down, what will happen?” For at least a dozen years, Vermont governors have been bemoaning our state’s demographics, hoping for more young families in our midst. Governor Scott went so far as to offer a sort of “sign-on bonus” of $10,000 for moving here. Recently, as a...
When I was about 4 years old, my mother taught me to sew on a button. Likely, she too was sewing something, and I expressed an interest. While it was a useful skill, I never became a dedicated sewer. In my early adulthood I made curtains and even the rare clothing item. Later on, I made my kids’ Halloween costumes, but quickly found the advantages of duct tape and staples for those single use creations. While I found various fabrics and materials appealing, both visually and by touch, I never did take up weaving.  I don’t know anyone who weaves these days, but I once had friends with looms —...
About eight years ago I began doing hand-built pottery. Some people make beautiful bowls or whimsical wall hangings; I like to make sculptures. Probably all of you have made things out of clay, even if it was simply Playdough. I remember making an elephant when I was in kindergarten. The great thing about building with clay is that if you don’t like the way it’s turning out you just squish it into a ball and start anew. I realize that making a marble sculpture would be significantly less forgiving.  In the state of Washington, a famous bridge was built in 1940. At that time, it was the third...
On a warm spring morning during my sophomore year of high school, I gathered with my P.E. class to form teams for a softball game. Chatting as we stood in line along the backstop, we watched the boys’ class run laps on the nearby track. Suddenly there was a shifting, a movement, and the ground quite literally began to undulate in visible waves. The strongest earthquake to hit Seattle since just before my birth was rolling through. It was fortunate that our class was outside that morning, because in the gym, sections of the ceiling fell to the floor. We students were allowed to gather up our...
Once upon a time, I was young. That’s a statement everybody, other than the very young, can make, but I state it for a reason. There was a time when we were going to change the world. It’s been 50 years since the environmental movement got started with the first Earth Day in 1970. Fifty years since John Lennon wrote the lyrics “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” A bit more than fifty years since the Civil Rights movement was considered over, after wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws were passed. Not quite forty years since a nuclear freeze resolution passed in 88% of Vermont’s Town...
Looking out an airplane window, people who are flying over the Midwest often say the earth looks like a patchwork quilt, all the many squares of fields spread out across the flattened plains. My grandparents farmed in western Illinois, and I suppose that was how their farm would have looked, although I never saw it from the air. These days, those squares have gotten larger. Much of the land, while still farmed, is owned by huge agri-business corporations. The remaining houses are rarely occupied by those who work the landscape. In consequence, the towns and small cities that once thrived by...

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Addison County Independent