Happy Independence Day

Ashley and I are sitting in our breezy Vermont house with all the windows and the doors to our new screen porch swung wide open.  Soft summer air moves around the apple trees outside and gently tosses the little apples, happy on their newly pruned trees that our son, Alden helped Ashley to shape through the winter months.  As we continue to work on this house and land as well as on our good work with schools, we feel profoundly grateful for this place and this time in our lives. We have just shared some glorious days with grand baby Asher and his parents, Alden and Caroline, marveling at the joy and exuberance of a fourteen-month-old discovering the world, including cows, calves, horses and ponies...real ones in Vermont, not only in books.  A laughing, just walking, experimenting with everything in sight, darling boy.

Our son, Chris just visited for a few days.  Yesterday, we attended a memorial service for the step-father of one of Chris's Middlebury classmates who died last week suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 52.  The service was in Burlington at the University of Vermont in a huge room in the Davis Center.  We sat surrounded by the 600 or more people who attended, and listened to sweet music and eloquent, heartfelt words about David.  Sitting next to a big, tall son who manifests many of the qualities that everyone spoke about in David flooded me with gratitude for these kinds of people in our lives.  Here are a few of those words...

David had keen judgment, a sharp memory, a sense of humor, and boundless energy...His quick mind was matched with a huge heart that glowed with his family, reached out to friends and strangers alike, and spoke aloud every day in a rolling laugh that could be heard for miles. David was a builder, of wooden things and stone walls, of friendships and family, of community... He is survived by all that he built, by the laughter he brought everywhere he went, and by all that he loved.

Attending funerals and watching babies with a whole heart brings all that is precious in life to the forefront.  This morning, I drove Chris to Castleton, Vermont to catch the train back to New York City.  We could have been in a Norman Rockwell scene...picturesque Vermont town with matching train station, dogs, children, women with white blouses and red, white and blue scarves, train and train whistle, conductor in a red tie standing in the open train door...everyone waves goodbye, and the train rumbles down the track.

Happy Independence Day to all of you.  May all of our lives be full of wonder, celebration, joy and gratitude.