Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hardwick, Vermont - The Beginning...

In my life, I have discovered that places are like people. There are some places where you can always go, knowing that you'll find a feeling of familiarity and of 'being at home', just as there are people in your life with whom you know you can always feel comfortable just being yourself.

There are other places that you'll find yourself in for a slice of your life and, if you are open to it, these places will offer an abundance of experiences that can, in small ways and big ways, change the course of your life and/or your perspective, just as there are people that will pass through your life - they may stay briefly or stick around for longer - that will offer you insights into yourself and the world around you that will serve your evolution. Sometimes these places and people, I'll call them change agents, have such a strong impact on your head or heart that you struggle with leaving or letting them go, even when you innately know it's time to do so.

And then, in rare instances, you may be lucky enough to find yourself in a place that is a source of inspiration and evolution, as well as comfort and familiarity, just as you may be fortunate enough to meet someone whom you are instantly at ease with, but who also challenges you to move beyond your own barriers to growth and then gives you room to grow. These are what I like to think of as our soul-places and our soulmates. Perhaps that's a bit dramatic for some people. I know there are many who do not 'believe' in the concept of a soulmate, but I do believe there are some people and some places, where one's soul can rest easy that it is 'home' while also finding adventure and insight. The thing is, sometimes it's easy to overlook a soul-place or a soulmate. You find yourself instantly comfortable in their presence, so they don't necessarily offer the same intrigue that a change agent might, nor can you immediately place them in your 'safe' corner, because you don't have a history of trust upon which you can rely. So, in the end, you have to listen to and trust your instinct or your 'gut' feeling. Easier said then done, but worth straining your ears to hear and stretching your heart to trust.

And so it was in the early fall of 2009, as the leaves were doing their annual fire dance, that I found myself rolling into a tiny town called Hardwick in the North Eastern Kingdom of Vermont. Little did I know then, as I found my way to Main Street and tentatively entered the Buffalo Mountain Co-op grocery store to find my soon-to-be- landlady, Kate, that I had found that very rare treasure - a soul place.

My first night in Hardwick was a teaser, I arrived at twilight and had to drive on to PEI first thing the following morning to run the half marathon, and then return to Hardwick two weeks later just in time to see out October and begin four weeks of field research. At some point between waiting in the Buffalo cafe for Kate, enjoying a locally-sourced meal at Claire's Restaurant, where it seemed like everyone stopped by to say hello to Kate, and waking up to a crisp mountain air, my heart tugged. I knew then, without a doubt, that this little town was far more than a 'place' for me to carry out my research. It was to be another significant guiding post on my journey, and all I needed to do was be open to the direction it would send me - towards my bliss.


Elena G. said...

ahhh...love it. I am falling in love with Hardwick all over again, after reading this post. Thanks for sharing it Shannon.

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