Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Greener on the Other Side

We settled in these Green Mountains in the early 1970's at the call of our collective consciousness, a back-to-the-land movement for collegiate Utopians. There was a caravan of us. We didn't know one another and though personally we weren't quite hippies, we too were looking for a promise. The Green Mountains, a "special  place," also made us feel that way.

Many of us now have businesses of our own and the dream is still so real the dirtier aspects of life in these Green Mountains are mere undercurrents to the tangible ephemera of life as it should be. A sunny "California" day can bring tears of endorphin joy, with skies so blue one wonders if there is an azure filter for the sunlight that beams through the scattering of white clouds.

We save, recycle, and re-sell the idea of our lofty lifestyle. It makes us feel good, or whole, or at one with our green land surround. We strive to be green, greener than our neighbors, and our former selves, or our family-- maybe guiltily making up for our family. Like the mountains, green is good or it just makes you feel that way, especially when participating in the manifest destiny of a green state.

"In an {un-}recent poll conducted by Pitne' Bowes Business Insight and Earthsense, an applied marketing company, Vermont was ranked the 'greenest' state in the country in terms of citizens most likely to exhibit green behavior."

When I read this old quote in the Burlington Free Press I am not surprised. Why is this unusual in a state with a spine of Green Mountains? It's a color with which much of the state is naturally decorated, inside and out--along with a sprinkling of familiar barn red.

It's now easier to be green than it was a few decades ago. Then it wasn't universally cool, or fashionable, or agreeably main street acceptable. It was a struggle to get a new cook to understand a pail of fruit and vegetable pulp needs to be saved for compost. "Crazy" for then and too late for us now that they understand. Before our restaurant was shut down by an act of nature, our compost bin was shut down by the state--an irony of the struggle.

Slowly Utopia seekers take over the Vermont congress and thirty something years later composting becomes an official law. To ease us into it, the Vermont History Center displays a retrospective of the counterculture movement, complete with yurt.

Farmers understood it then and we all understand it now. We agrarian in-betweens may have personally lost but the lost compost is everyone's loss, so back to the future we go!