I went to Vermont (and almost stayed)

Hi everyone! Sorry it’s been a while. Between teaching and traveling (NY, VT, WV…) I’ve been a little out of touch.

I went to Vermont! I nearly ran out of gas on the way there (Vermont gas stations close before 8 pm?) but I arrived in Burlington on Thursday night to the welcoming arms of UVM and a couple of students who allowed me to stay on their couch.

On Friday, I visited the famous Field Naturalist graduate program, where I was greeted enthusiastically by the program director who deserves the award for Most Enthusiastic Handshaker in the World. I had lively conversations with the professors about my experiences, my illustrations, and the future. An hour and a couple of burritos later, I had the pleasure of attending an indoor nature walk during which one of the Field Naturalists led a group of folks through the natural history archives. At one point, we were given a list of things to find in the herbarium (eg., the biggest seed in the world, a book that nobody will ever read, a to-do list over 50 years old…) and were encouraged to dig through EVERYTHING that we could get our hands on. This included professor’s desks, dark basement corners, and of course, the archive of plant specimens. While we burrowed through the herbarium, the snow piled up outside…

I decided to spend Friday night at my new-found cousin/friend’s house (who wins the award for Most Welcoming Person Ever)! She co-owns a tattoo studio just outside of Burlington, so on Saturday we visited the studio! Every artist had their own space that they could paint/decorate however they wanted. It was a lovely atmosphere.

I poked around downtown for a little while (it’s basically a replica of Ithaca, NY), and the minute that I got in my car to drive home I discovered that it wouldn’t start. Three hours and $500 later, I had a shiny new battery, alternator, and fan belt. Whew. Perhaps Burlington wanted me to stay (or just spend more money!)?



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