Still Learning To See

Clouds over the Vermont landscape


It is so easy walking some of the back-country roads in East Montpelier or Calais to feel I’ve stepped back in time a hundred years or more. Though I no longer see many herds of milk cows or hear their bells clanging, I can imagine the sounds I’d have heard back then and can smell the manure that’s been recently spread over the newly cut hay fields. I can see the old farm machinery on the side hills of farms where people still struggle because that is the life they’ve long known.


Most profound are the towering cumulus clouds of summer billowing up over the landscape, dwarfing all that is human—not in a sinister, threatening way, but more a simple complement to what those working the land do and have done for so long.


It is easy to imagine that on my walk next week the old farms will have sprung back to life—horse-drawn rakes piling fresh-cut hay, the brown cows edging against the fences as I walk by, a neighbor inviting me in for a piece of fresh cherry pie. It is easy to imagine—not with the intent of romanticizing what was then, and still is, a hard, hard life, but rather in order to carry from it what continues to have value in today’s world: a bit of humanity finding a place in the landscape under these immense summer clouds. It is a good place to see the true relationships in life.


This entry was published on July 12, 2017 at 10:12 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Clouds over the Vermont landscape

  1. Deborah Leu on said:

    Classic and timeless scenes. Thoughtful reflection, as always.

  2. vaultpress2303126a2597f00fdf8cb5347ae9ed8d on said:

    John, Just yesterday a friend an I were swimming at Curtis Pond and exploring the roads around Maple Corners and Kent Corners (including my favorite spot – the Robinson Sawmill). We were having a very similar experience rambling around those roads and feeling like it was 100 years in the past. And we also were wowed by the clouds that set the stage for an exceptionally beautiful day yesterday. Thanks for sharing your words and images.


    Dan Clar Clar Construction, Inc. PO Box 711 Montpelier, VT 05601 Phone/Fax: (802) 223-3447


  3. Marti Snell on said:

    Oh the colors! I remember those walks and look forward to taking them again with you.

  4. Such cooling calming colors! I find it so interesting how different coloration is of the skies in Vermont compared to what we are having here in Arizona now. Your calms of green and blue are completely juxtaposed to our always fiery red and yellow. Very nice, thank you for sharing.

  5. From my wonderful father-in-law who grew up on a farm near where he still lives 98 years later: “Beautiful pictures with a story connecting them to today’s world. Looking at the pictures I can almost smell the freshness and feel a gentle breeze on my face. Love, Dad”

  6. these are just as I remember the clouds above our hanging valley in West Brookfield on an August day; piling up over the green pastures beyond the Wakefield’s dairy barn. I miss those years!
    Holly now living in Connecticut.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: