East Montpelier

Every state is a state of mind. There are intangibles which make Vermont peculiarly such a state...Charles Edward Crane

For my Art of Action proposal I've been working on a series of studies that explore Vermont's landscape elements, features that I've identified as fundamental to our state's character: mountain, field, water, forest, farm, home, road and town. Vermonters care deeply about the working and natural landscape, and want to preserve our rural and small town environment (see surveys conducted by the "Council on the Future of Vermont") . So I've been thinking and reading about the components of this landscape, those elements that we live among and love, but also often take for granted. And I believe that we have to recognize the parts that make up the whole of Vermont before we can protect what we have here.

As I was driving today down Route 14 from East Montpelier towards home, I had a bit of an epiphany. I suddenly realized that the scene in front of me held a variety of landscape elements (road, home, mountain, field, forest, water). Each element conjured up associations and memories. This is a visually rich landscape.

That got me thinking about the opposite of this rich landscape, a "mono-element" landscape of housing development (only "home" element) or freeway (only "road" element). I can think of rural places I've been that are "mono-element": parts of Iowa that are only "field" element, or parts of Colorado that are only "mountain" element. For me, those places don't offer the complexity of features, that composition of emotional resonances that makes Vermont what it is: a unique "state of mind."


  1. it looks great. I've always hated southern winters, cold, hot, cold, hot, you never can get used to it, and there's not much snow, just rain, and Ice

  2. So much more used to happen in the villages. I can't go over the singing bridge in North Montpelier without remembering the blanket mill. The walkway used to cross over the road, and the racket from the looms on both sides was much louder than the sound of our tires on the metal parts of the bridge.

  3. Yes, I found the indefinite seasons disturbing when I lived in DC--though I remember my childhood winters there as cold and snowy, and falls crisp and cool. Either the climate has changed, or I tend to romanticize memories!