Last week we visited Old Bennington in Vermont - the Green Mountains State. It was a Sunday morning and (to quote a poet) not a breath of wind, not a leaf stirred. The whole village was a living Picture Postcard, no weeds, no cars, no movement - although it was almost eleven o'clock there was no sign of life. So much so that we began to think it was a village of second homes.
As we walked down Monument Avenue towards the church here and there people began to emerge - quietly, unobtrusively - on their way to the eleven o'clock service. Google tells me that in 2000 two hundred and thirty two people lived there in 62 families - 93% white and 4% African American; median age was 48 and the median income eighty five thousand dollars a year. Every house, every garden was immaculate - almost too good to be true.
The church was exquisite both inside and out. The congregation welcomed us for five minutes before the service - there were smiles and handshakes all round.
The church yard was full of surprises. A lot of the Fathers of the Revolution are buried there (among them Ethan Allen) but then, quite by chance, there was the grave of Robert Frost, the poet. He lived hereabouts and was a real New England Man. Violets grew around his grave and it really was the most peaceful scene. The trees were full of clean Spring Green, the flowers were in blooom, everything appeared to be freshly laundered/white washed - it was a haven of peace and tranquility - a fitting spot for the grave of such a Countryman/Poet. But, of course, it has not always been peaceful - it did see action in the past, and - as in all places - there have been sadnesses. Robert Frost himself lost his first child, Eliot, to cholera.
I wrote this little poem on leaving:-
There is no chaste land here,
for men have toiled and
tilled the soil,
and died - their children too.
Battles have been fought
and fields strewn with bones.
Blood has settled in the soil,
but violets grow.