So begin the celebrations of spring, with winter’s aggressive, Shakespearian foulness officially behind us. Sort of. Hopefully… Rife with metaphors of dancing gnomes, chirping birds and blooming flora, my spring represents possessions that have been left behind or released, in exchange for new assets, new growth. This season, I also look forward to living in the world sustainably—as an author, with new publications on the way, and continuing to generate a range of creative living projects.
My growing and harvesting endeavors that were launched about two summers ago, will focus more attention this season, on cooking and medicinal herbs such as basils, thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, mints, lemon balm, to name a few. Those damnable groundhogs that tormented me last summer will not have much to gnaw on this time around. Hee-hee! Along the way, I hope to explore hydroponics and Permaculture systems and practices. Whew! That’ll keep me busy for a day or two.
Many of you know that with spring’s arrival, I also decided that it was time for me to leave my faculty position at Goddard College, and the dynamic low-residency programs that I have been affiliated with over the past ten years.
It’s been a rewarding relationship that began as a graduate student in the MFA-IA program (Class of ’07), and provided me with a rigorous laboratory for deconstructing my interdisciplinary, creative scholarship questions and art practices. Since 2008, I’ve been honored to share defining experiences with outstanding faculty colleagues and inspiring students in the Undergraduate B.A. program whom I regard as extended family. The Goddard community is a resilient and spirited enclave. For their gifts in this profound season of springing forward, I offer deep, deep gratitude.
Oh, but here’s what really stirs my sentiments about my alma mater—Olivia Pope’s future in Vermont. You may recall from my last summer’s column, Scandal & Pleasure in My Greens, that I considered Ms. Pope’s predisposition for gardening and farming after years spent eliminating the world’s nastiest scoundrels, among them, her compelling though certifiably rogue parents.
With Scandal’s positioning in the cultural zeitgeist, it leaves me wondering where Olivia Pope and her lame duck president-lover, Fitz, might actually settle when their political deeds are satisfied, or Shonda Rhimes and ABC decide to call it quits? (Personally I think Jake is better eye-candy, but I’ll leave that debate to my friends who navigate “husbandry” farming more astutely than myself!) Yet with the ugliness of her kidnapping, post-traumatic stress, and Huck’s unpredictability, I think this diva is long overdue for living someplace where nobody judges when you wear your flannels year round.
My point is to bring attention to the gorgeous farm property that sits adjacent to Goddard’s campus, situated in the Town of Plainfield, Vermont. Located in the north central region of Vermont, the school is only minutes from the capital city, Montpelier. Those gorgeous Green Mountains on the horizon lend both towns a spectacular, picturesque quality, and in my experience, more pastoral locale than the trendier backdrops of Burlington, Brattleboro, or Killington-area ski towns.
Wouldn’t it be ideal for Olivia to settle somewhere in the vicinity of Goddard’s charming campus? There are plenty of folks who could help them set up a farmhouse (or a Yurt, baby!) with more style and energy-efficiency than any mythical, undisclosed Vermont dream-house that Fitz could invent.
Maybe in the not too distant future of her imminent and very wealthy retirement, Olivia could be a commencement speaker who’d implore students to use grammar-check to avoid ever hearing, “There’s not a single word in that sentence I understand except cowbell.” She might be inclined to make a hefty contribution for scholarships or to improve faculty wages or support the College’s radio station, WGDR-WGDH FM. I’d also encourage Ms. Pope to meet with Goddard’s knowledgeable HELP DESK staff, (because they’re just good people) and the Facilities and Kitchen staffs to learn everything she can about the secrets of harvesting kale—the school’s exclusive ‘Veggie’ Mascot.
A local anonymous source shared with me recently, that Liv’s already exploring a line of jam, with a delicate Strawberry-Merlot flavor. Yummy!
Your challenge here is to imagine Olivia Pope living simply in one of Vermont’s toniest provinces, without her always at the ready Gladiators off to rescue and defend others. What would it mean for her to tend the soil, sans the manicured nails, designer wardrobe, and kidnappings—in exchange for exercising ‘self-care’—an elusive state that Goddardites zealously pursue. There would always be an elegant bottle of red wine or an award-winning beer awaiting her at the legendary Positive Pie and Tap & Grill, downtown Plainfield’s classiest eateries. And let’s not forget, that she’ll also have shopping and membership options at the Plainfield Co-Op.
In my vision, a delivery person will jauntily deposit a bio-degradable shoe box on top of the cord of chopped wood that stands next to the entryway of her home. That’s when we’ll know Olivia Pope is really living in Vermont. Yeh…when those custom-made, garden-style Wellington boots have arrived.
Stay tuned next month for more of my journeys and Olivia Pope’s in the pursuit of greener pastures-especially the believers. SUBSCRIBE too!
Stay green. Stay square. Pb
***A note of thanks to Adana Collins for revamping my site. Check-out her line of beautiful crocheted hats and jewelry at: www.lovabletreasures.com/