In these last few melty days, great hunks of ice have been slipping off the red steel roof of the Last House, threatening to take the gutters down with them. It wouldn't be much of a loss as the gutters have been clogged for about 12 years, since about 20 minutes after we had them installed at considerable expense when we first bought the place. There is a a stand of Locust trees behind the house, growing well north of their range, that provide a nice tracery of branches behind the house all winter and some beautiful-smelling blossoms for about three days in June, but shedding gutter-clogging leaves each fall.
The trees and their ways are one of the thousands of little details about life in the Last House I have been contemplating in recent weeks. I, Woolfoot, have taken a job in the closest American city of any size, Burlington, Vermont, and the long term future of the Last House is in question. That immortal question rings, "Should I stay or should I go now?"
Well, nothing will happen right away. We have rented a condo in Burlington that will house the little family or some part of it during the weeks for the next year or so, then we will probably have to make up our minds about whether we will be regular Americans (Burlington) or irregular ones (North Troy). Both have their charms. Burlington has employment opportunities.
The condo I have bargained to rent has a view over Lake Champlain to the Adirondacks and as you walk to the little parking area Burlington twinkles up the hillside which it climbs from the lake. A bike path connects the Condo to my office downtown. A good public school, where my Harvard-graduate friends have their kids, lies on the path between the two places. Much will be demanded of Woolfoot to pay the bills, but much more is available by way of opportunity.
After viewing the condo yesterday, I stopped on my way out of town for a Grande Vanilla Latte at the Starbucks near the Connector. College types served it up with a piece of lemon cake. Of course, our local North Troy reinvigorated gas station has coffee too, (see my earlier post on the topic of the gas station) but the contrast between the First and Last Border Stop and Starbucks of Burlington tells the whole story and highlights my dilemma.