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"I'm going home," I told the woman sitting next to me on the plane in Billings, Montana, when she asked where I was headed. "Northern Vermont," I added, and then, because I've never been much for conversation, pulled the brim of my hat down and leaned back into my seat as we taxied toward the runway. A Starbucks mocha, loaded to the gills with extra shots of espresso, ensured that sleep was many hours off, but I closed my eyes and thought about it. Where I was going, and what it meant to me. Easy enough to chalk it up...

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The sole salvation of my primary grades at Irasburg Elementary School was recess. During those blocks of time outdoors, before the clanging cow bell signaled a return to sounding out two-syllable words, practicing cursive handwriting under the tutelage of a true battle ax, implacable instructor, or doing page upon page of multi-digit addition and subtraction problems, I was blissfully free to pursue what, at the age of eight, I was sure would be my life’s calling. While other boys rammed matchbox cars over homemade ramps of sand and dreamed of being Bo or Luke Duke, I prowled the grounds with...

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Unless you were born in the North Country, you probably believe the summer solstice is the greatest time of year. Day has eroded both ends of night to the fullest, giving us more vitamin D and less darkness than during any other 24-hour period. If, like me, however, you grew up at or above the 45th Parallel, you know this is no cause for celebration. In fact, quite the opposite, for after June 21 the days begin shrinking. The nights ooze longer. And that part of our brain that never forgets the blasting chill of a winter wind says, "Chink...

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And then one day the world is reborn. On the cusp of summer, when time has passed through the equinox season into long days here in Montana, with a sun rising far north of where it did even a month ago, I spent a morning walking along the Yellowstone River, celebrating the new life that was all around and had seemingly appeared overnight from thin air. It's fitting that it happens this way - how a new generation magically materializes. While the world has gone on about its business, Nature has done something quite remarkable and I've paid no attention...

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When I was a boy, growing up in Northern Vermont, arguably in either the end of the Appalachian Chain or beginning of the Laurentian Range, winter was as much hell for me as it ever was for Persephone. In fact, there were times when I would gladly have traded my cloudy, north-wind-blown, packed-snow landscape for whatever she viewed in Hades because it undoubtedly would have been warmer. To a boy whom my father frequently referred to as “all boy and a yard wide,” meaning I suppose that if it was breakable I’d smash it, if I could throw it I’d...

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