Castle Freeman Jr.

A month out of time

The sights and sounds of October, the October light, the October air, seem to restore the old agricultural order to the land, if only for a few weeks

In the heart of the heart of the fall arrives a month that is, somehow, out of its time. By October, the tenth month, the year is old. The golden light of the afternoon partakes of age, and of a certain honest weariness and well-earned rest.

But the curious thing about this long month is that it evokes not only the repose of age but also its devotion to memory, to the past. In October, as in no other month, the years - the decades - fall away.

Nowhere is this more true than in the foothills and narrow valleys of Vermont.

For 200 years, Vermont was mostly a farm state, and its landscape was an agricultural landscape: open, well-tended, domesticated.

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Surviving deer season

For a newcomer to Vermont, a local tradition provides a lesson in ambiguity

The foothills of southeastern Vermont were once dairy country, although by the time I arrived, 20 years ago, dairying was mostly finished. One farm in the neighborhood still kept a few milkers, though, and it was there that I became acquainted with a particular local custom that is, I...

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