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Your head and your heart shouldn’t feel so far apart: 7.4.10

Did I forget to mention my birthday? Oh, I think I did. It was a few weeks ago and it was a pleasantly low-key affair. I did, however, make the mistake of not taking the day off and going through yet another particularly heinous day at ye old daily grind. Lesson learned. I should note though that on my commute in to work that day, I passed a moving van emblazoned with the following logo: Kane Moving: Kane is Able! I could not make this stuff up, I swear. It was perfect, improved upon only by the message stamped on the truck’s rear panel, which read: Be Kind; Be Considerate; Be Yourself. Indeed. Indeed!

And then, just yesterday, I was in a little shop where next to the cash register was a slender, pretty little volume entitled, The Birthday Fortune Teller’s Book. Naturally, I picked it up and wouldn’t you know it? It happened to open to my very own date of birth. Apparently, I am passionate and loyal, and also? Not likely to fall in love at first sight. Sniff.

But here is the part where I spare you the ruminations born of the hours upon hours I have logged these past weeks in airports and planes…and really that’s for the best. Especially because I have determined all this time to be kind of like when the power goes out and your digital clock just blinks 12:00 interminably. It doesn’t really exist on the space/time grid of normal life. It’s some bizarre suspension of time, place and (most importantly) self. It’s borrowed time, or extra time, or wasted time. But it is not to be tracked here. Instead, I will indulge my free-lance travel writer fantasy career and give you 36 hours in…Burlington, Vermont! (I actually had more like 52 hours in Burlington thanks to the airline industry and summer storms, but really, who’s counting? Like I said, most of that time doesn’t even exist. And also, who’s complaining? Because I secretly did not want to leave Burlington. Ever.)

I do believe that I have been subconsciously channeling Vermont’s Green Mountains since age 5 or so. Because they are your classic Eastern-bred child’s drawing of mountains. They are not the impressive snow capped spiking peaks of Western ranges, but rather the suitably equal craggy and rolling overlapping mountains that were the backdrop for any altitudinous village or wandering road I attempted to illustrate. Add the almost ridiculously picturesque Lake Champlain, a suitably quaint small town with a university to add just enough cosmopolitan diversity and sophistication and voila: Welcome to Burlington. You should certainly go for a stroll down by the lakeshore—the view is not to be missed. Burlington pleasantly supplies this already pleasant scene with swinging benches. Do park yourself on one and sway lazily while you listen to the college students revel in their next summer’s plans and kick a soccer ball on the fields behind you. Stroll back into town—if you like, stop by the Skinny Pancake’s outdoor patio for a Magic Hat—the new summer brew is the lightly hoppy Wacko— or crepe or both. Work up a real appetite by strolling the Church Street pedestrian walk in the middle of town, which, despite the ubiquitous mall stores, still yields plenty of local authenticity. Poke around the Old Crow Bookshop, browse the racks at Sweet Lady Jane, and stop into Trinket for, well, something useless and frivolous that lives up to its name. Now that you’ve got a real appetite, swing down one of the quiet side streets to Zabby and Elk’s Stone Soup Café for a delectable all vegan buffet and decadent dessert offerings. I had a strangely rich lentil pie with its namesake’s lightly spiced warmth softening the layers of phylo dough to just the right pliancy—the perfect comfort meal while a little summer storm rained softly outside. And yes, I had one of their almond cloud cookies, coated in confectionary bliss, and then went right back around the corner to pick up a suitably local treat—my Ben and Jerry’s cone. Which was the perfect companion for a stroll around the edge of the University of Vermont’s campus, and one more twilight swing by the lake. If you’re still not done soaking up the simple of pleasures of this town, stop by the Three Needs for another of Vermont’s local offerings—it is the state with the most craft breweries in the entire nation, after all. It was hard not to just indulge in my usual favorite Harpoon IPA and push myself to sample the Switchback Ale. No complaints. The next day, which if you’re lucky, starts off in your little room at the Ho Hum Hotel, don’t forget to ride out of town on 89 north to see the whale tails oddly appear against the undulating horizon of mountain waves behind them and then swing past the miniature Stonehenge, which is hidden off a bike path off a side road in South Burlington and suggested to you by a friendly local over last night’s Switchback. It’s small, quirky, and set against that beautiful backdrop of the Green Mountain ridges, strangely bewitching. Which goes for the whole Burlington experience. It may be the draw for all those “Ski the East” bumper stickers, but don’t underestimate its summer charms. I am ready for my Vermont summer house, please.

And now, in fine tradition, here is my usual July 4th post. And I wish I had more to report. Yes, I’m on the way to a bbq and backyard drinking at J’s and meeting up later for fireworks on the Hill, but this whole solo routine is still…too routine. Here’s the report by the numbers that covers yesterday up to today:

6 miles hiked at Patapsco. Saw deer and a pretty little Oriole family too.

5:15 reservation for dinner with the parents at the Wine Market. Yes, it’s getting to that point with the aging. But still, it was leisurely and enjoyable. Sometimes I think hanging with my mom is the equivalent of a great date—if that doesn’t sound too weird. She can talk about anything—really, and be incredibly interesting about it. Without the shyness, I bet she would have killed at cocktail parties back in the day.

2 iced coffees after 7:00 p.m. Decadence.

Around 10, got restless. Decided to see this band, unheard but heard of.

Played 5 games of pool. Won all of them and then got antsy for the music.

A Spacemen 3 cover naturally makes for a great show.

Had 7 bucks on me and the lead singer still pushed the $10 cd on me because I dug it so much.

Home by 1.

Happy 4th.

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