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Kittredge: Nor' Easter

When I wasn’t attending camps in New England, the summers of my childhood were spent at the end of Long Island in a small beach house atop a sand bluff. Until the vineyards arrived about 30 years ago, there wasn’t much happening on the North Fork except lush fruit and vegetable farming. The small peninsula called Nassau Point on which my parents’ house stood jutted out into Peconic Bay and was, if you can believe it, pretty remote.

That I am rarely bored is thanks to my summers on Nassau Point. Because, aside from beach and water, nothing was going on. Since we had no television and only a scratchy transistor radio, we invented our distractions. Never was this truer than during a Nor' Easter. Being on the coast, when the wind blew out of the northeast we knew we were in for three solid days of rain and holed up in the little house that grew damper by the hour. We read a lot and since my mother was a painter, we drew and painted. We played cards and knitted and if the power didn’t go out, which it often did, we cooked. I’m not suggesting that I loved these storms; to my eight year-old self they seemed interminable.

I do, however, love them in retrospect. Where we live in the Champlain Valley, it hasn’t rained in two weeks and, aside from a suggestion of an isolated thunderstorm, there is none on the horizon. As an avid gardener I find this annoying. Setting up sprinklers and watering the vegetables and fruit trees takes a lot of time. Farmers are getting the hay in but once the fields are mowed the stubble revealed is not greening up as it should. With the exceptionally gorgeous weather we’ve had recently we are continually called outside to garden, cycle, pick berries, fish, sail, walk, swim, kayak, hike and play, when - of course - we’re not working. Living in heaven can be exhausting.

Not only do we desperately need the rain, but a nice storm that would drive us inside would be a relief. For the most part summer storms in Vermont last an hour or so; we don’t get solid systems that go on for days. A good stretch inside might even mean that some bills would get paid and I could read the real life Sunday Times, the only paper I get that I actually can touch. I’d like my grandchildren to have nothing to do for a bit, no scheduled outings or adventures because children thrive on boredom; it jump starts creative juices. When they are overbooked their imaginations can stagnate.

Many of us could use a break right about now because it’s not only the sun that is unrelenting, the political temperature around the world is at the boiling point. Would that there were some way that the powers that be in Russia, Ukraine, Gaza, Israel and Palestine could find themselves stilled by a nice summer rain and no power.

Susan Cooke Kittredge is Associate Pastor of the Charlotte Congregational Church.
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