Ways of Seeing

10/17/2019
In September of 2018, a 30-year-old, off-duty police officer in Dallas, Texas, named Amber Guyger mistakenly entered her neighbor’s apartment, instead of her own. Guyger’s apartment was on the third floor, but she entered the apartment of her neighbor, Botham Jean, who lived one floor above. Botham Jean was relaxing on his couch, watching TV, and eating vanilla ice cream. Amber Guyger may have been distracted because she was upset, as she had been talking to her lover (another police officer, married to someone else), and trying to arrange a meeting that evening. She didn’t notice the bright...
10/10/2019
We first noticed the house while driving back and forth from work in Middlebury to our rented apartment in Sudbury. Red brick, out in the country, with lots of windows facing Route 30. For sale by owner. “What a nice house,” I would say to my husband Bill. “What a nice house for a big family.” And then we took in two teenage foster sons, and suddenly we were a big family. So I stopped one day and knocked on the door. Ten minutes later I was totally in love, and in a few weeks we owned an old brick house in Cornwall, which would be our home for 45 years. When Bill and I decided to move to...
10/03/2019
This late summer there have been so many nights when the sky was filled with stars. They are always there, of course, but not always so visible. We sat outside this August, looking up with hopes of seeing shooting stars but really just reveling in the firmament. Some out-of-town guests marveled to see the Milky Way for the first time after years of city life, excited to spot constellations. I was in awe of the people who centuries ago, without even the aid of telescopes, studied the heavens and figured out so much about their patterns of change over the course of a year and how to navigate...
09/26/2019
My husband and I leave Arches National Park in Utah on a bright morning, driving along the Colorado River then over the Rockies toward Denver, where we’ll visit his son and our eight-year-old grandson. The scorched river valley and vast mountains we traverse captivate our imagination. This place is the setting of countless Westerns. It’s well past lunchtime when we pull off I-70 into a parched rest area. Three small picnic shelters are scattered across a scrubby field — each one shades a couple of tables and a handful of travelers. The only open table parallels another one where a leggy man...
09/19/2019
“This is so boring, Gaga!” Our three year old granddaughter looked at me with delight in her eyes. She was busily engaged rolling out dough and using her favorite cookie cutters.  I was taken aback and was about to correct her by saying something like “But Lucretia, this is the project you asked to do and you seem to be enjoying it.” Or “Lucretia, do you know what boring means?”  Fortunately, I just kept my mouth shut and smiled back at her. After more such statements in the following days, I realized she was trying out a new power phrase learned from her older cousin.  Unlike the potty-talk...
09/12/2019
On July 28, I was arrested in Williston, Vt., for blocking a road outside the ICE Data Center. This unassuming brick building is the home of a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline, where United States citizens can report their undocumented neighbors. About 400 Vermont and New York residents work at this data center, and I barely have the words to express my rage at my tax dollars being used to detain, deport, and terrorize families. Some recent New York Times headlines about the concentration camps where immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are being forcibly detained include “Hungry, Scared...
09/05/2019
This is a confession. I am a hoarder of the written word. I am surrounded, subsumed, obsessed by ideas, humor, thoughts, possibilities, fantasies, and happenings that are manifested in books and articles. This obsession is very obvious in my personal surroundings: In my living room is a bookshelf with 127 books — history, religion, personal development. In the dining room, three bookshelves are home to approximately 160 nonfiction books, 120 books of poetry and 150 novels. There are five books on my coffee table (three personal development and two picture books) and three anthologies on an...
08/29/2019
It seems there are a million things to focus on in any given moment. For instance, you are reading these words on this paper, but you are also holding the paper. How does the paper feel? The paper also has a smell. You are breathing it. Perhaps you have a cup of tea, and you smell that too. Your feet may be in socks or shoes, or bare, and they are on some surface. It may be warm or cold. These are just some of the physical things you are experiencing in the moment — there may be much on your mind too. There certainly is on mine. There are so many things to think about and to do, and how to...
08/22/2019
Ah, the simple pleasures of summer: a cup of coffee, salt air, a sunny deck and the best vegan oatmeal raspberry bar I have ever tasted. Why sun and coffee? That needs no explanation. Why the salt air? Because while summer in Vermont is indeed a gift from the gods, it is imperfect — Neptune knows — without a weekend visit to the ocean. Why a vegan oatmeal raspberry bar? Well, that’s another column, but suffice it to say that if you care an iota about climate change and have not yet pondered the relationship between agriculture, the food we eat and the rapid warming of the planet, it is worth...
08/15/2019
In January of 2016, my father, at the great age of 99¾, was in the hospital on a respirator and it fell to me to be the deciding voice about his future. Should we move him to a nursing home and continue to let the machine breathe for him for as long as he was able to live? Or should we turn off the machine now and let nature take its course unimpeded? Several times over the years the family had sat around the kitchen table to discuss what we wanted in various end-of-life scenarios. My father was always very clear: “Do everything you can to save my life. Don’t ever put me in a home.” Over the...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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