Love Letter To Wardsboro. Stepping Away. Looking Back.

On August 1st I left the restaurant I opened with friends in 2012. The summer of 2011 was the last summer since the opening that my head was above water.  Opening and running a restaurant was like being swallowed. Like Jonah - it was a great adventure but I was pulled so far, too far from the rest of my life.  The summer of 2011- August 27th, to be exact was the day Hurricane Irene hit Vermont like a hammer, destroying our land, but thankfully leaving our family and house in tact. Nonetheless, something beautiful and irrevocable was lost when our creek was smashed and widened by four.  Gone was our lovely brook with holes deep enough to swim with great rocks for sitting and sunning.  It was left widened, shallow, and ugly with the debris of waterfront cottages crumbling and abandoned and falling rotten into the water.  My memories of our last summer in Wardsboro include the devastation, but also so much beauty.  I was acutely aware that with the impending opening of Popolo that everything was about to change.  I ran a lot that summer - through the hills and trails behind our old farmhouse, listening to 'You Woke Up My Neighborhood' by Billy Bragg obsessively.  We had some great parties late into the night on our candle lit porch. We laughed a lot.
Popolo Summer 2012

Last of the Wardsboro Porch Parties
In our old farmhouse kitchen we had one of those silly little Bavarian barometers that looks like an alpine cottage.  When the weather is dry and sunny the little woman swings out from the left side of the barn and when a storm is brewing the little man emerges from the right. Merritt and I vividly remember being doubled over with laughter in our kitchen on the night of August 26th with Hurricane  Irene on everyone's mind as our friend Bruce imagined the National Weather Service headquarters relied on one of these same barometers - but a REALLY BIG one.  Oh how we laughed as we finished up with the late night after party clean up.  Then we all went to bed and in the morning,  feeling a little nervous about the predicted storm, our friends hustled to pack to head back to New York.  Bruce ran down for a quick dip in the creek before hitting the road.  He was the last person to swim in the hole before it was wiped away by Irene.

One of Merritt's sculptures torn from the ground and crushed by Irene
Why am I telling you this now?  To explain my absence I suppose - to you and to myself.  I haven't posted since May.  The hardest thing for me about the restaurant was being contained.  I couldn't figure out how to keep my life big.  This blog helped me feel like I was connected to the world.  Still, it was hard to leave.  After my last post in May I was in the final eight week stretch and finishing up was all I could do.  All of my energy went into showing up those last eight weeks.  And then August 1st came and I was free and floating and sad and exhilarated and lost and in love with everything.  I went deep into home and family and the wild beauty of summer in Vermont. Other than  winter, I don't know what's next...




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