Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Baby Giggles, Music, Gratitude: What's Bringing Vermonters Joy These Days

Two toddlers on sleds in the snow.
Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, Courtesy
Lila and Emilio Castro-MacCausland find joy sledding in the snow.

Most of us were quite glad to see the end of 2020. But despite a cosmic plea for 2021 to be different, it turns out that just because it’s a new year, that doesn’t mean everything is magically better. 2021 has gotten off to a rocky start. Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The pandemic is still raging. Yet despite the ongoing challenges, the resiliency of the human spirit continues to find ways to survive.   As we enter a new year, VPR wanted to know: What brought you some solace or a little bit of joy in 2020? What helped you through?

Your responses certainly brought us some joy. Here is some of what you said:

baby in pumpkins
Credit Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland / Courtesy
Lila Castro-MacCausland was born during the height of Vermont's first COVID-19 wave. Her giggles bring her mom, Naomi, some joy when things are tough.

"Lila was born on April 10, at the height of Vermont's first COVID wave, and despite so much uncertainty and anxiety leading up to her being born, her character is really quite the opposite. She's a sweet and round- faced, happy child and has a cherished air of innocence and hope to her. She finds delight in all the simple things: her brother's voice, the cat walking by wiping his tail in her face, egg shakers, spoons, me doing push ups, the wind blowing in her face. And this delight that she finds in so many things reminds us all to do the same. With a little giggle, she is able to erase, or at least lighten, temporarily, any sadness or stress, or anger, or fatigue, or uncertainty, and really just reminds me to be present and grateful."

Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, Saint Albans

"What brings me some comfort is music. I love music. Anything to keep me running, anything to keep me going with workouts and stuff. That's my comfort. And why is that my comfort? Because as person with autism ... that's my way to, you know, to express my feelings. That's the way that I keep the pandemic, COVID-19, from [being] on my mind."

— Matthew, Alburgh

Judith Scott says adopting a gratitude practice has brought her some comfort. " During these difficult days of the COVID pandemic, I have sometimes felt despair. Someone I love suggested to me keeping a gratitude journal. I started it, but it soon evolved into something a little different. I don't focus on any things I'm grateful for, though there are many, and I don't write anything down. Instead, I try to find some time every day to think about some individual. Most days, it's someone I respect and admire, someone who brings stimulation and joy and comfort into my life. I feel grateful that that individual is here. I let their goodness just wash over me. Sometimes though, it's someone I actively dislike, someone whose actions seem to me to promote harm and conflict. Even though I'm not grateful that they're in my life, I think about how ill-prepared that person must be to deal with the difficulties of their own life. I remember how ill-prepared I have sometimes been that I have sometimes handled my own difficulties badly, with hurtful consequences. Thinking about a person in whom I can find so little goodness is powerfully humbling. It brings up in me a profound sense of gratitude that I have opportunities before me to learn, to be understanding, to be kind and helpful."

— Judith Scott, St. George

We'd love to hear from more Vermonters. If you would like to share what is bringing you some comfort, big or small, you can send a voice memo to or call and leave us a message at (802) 778-0914. You can learn more here. And thank you!

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a message or tweet us@vprnet.

We've closed our comments. Read about ways toget in touch here.

Brittany Patterson joined Vermont Public in December 2020. Previously, she was an energy and environment reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Ohio Valley ReSource. Prior to that, she covered public lands, the Interior Department and forests for E&E News' ClimateWire, based in Washington, D.C. Brittany also teaches audio storytelling and has taught classes at West Virginia University, Saint Michael's College and the University of Vermont. She holds degrees in journalism from San Jose State University and U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. A native of California, Brittany has fallen in love with Vermont. She enjoys hiking, skiing, baking and cuddling with her rescues, a 95-pound American Bulldog mix named Cooper, and Mila, the most beautiful calico cat you'll ever meet.
Latest Stories