Welcome to VT

The longer I live in Vermont, the more things pop out at me telling me I’m not in New Mexico anymore. Sometimes, it’s the weather or the fact that the question ‘red or green?’ does not exist here (referring to what kind of chile you want). But on Friday, when I went for a run, it struck me how different the people are.

Going for a run through the desert, not many people take notice. It’s not that they are too self-absorbed, but there are too many people to track from day to day.

Here in Vermont I keep running across people who know me, but I don’t know them. They point out my progress or ask me why they haven’t seen me for a couple of months while I was back home.

On my road in Alburg, Vt., I’ve become known as “the runner.” Folks will halt in the middle of the road while they are driving and stop me while I’m running to chat with me. One guy I will never forget introduced himself to me, then told me he wished he had my lungs. I told him I’d trade if he had a pair that wasn’t asthmatic.

My neighbors knew how fast and far I ran; they knew my schedule, all this before I even met them. When I found out they knew all this, I was freaked out. Then I came to realize – I’m in Vermont.

Your neighbors actually notice who you are here.

Back home in New Mexico, the only time you’ll get a mumble out of people is if you frequent the Tramway Trail. Then you’ll get a smile and a wave, but rarely ever a chit-chat.

Safety is another issue.

In New Mexico, it is probably more likely for one to be kidnapped or murdered while running. My grandma even bought me an alarm to ensure my safety from murderers. Yet, I was never worried about that when I was running there.

Then I come to Vermont and I hear gunshots all around me. On Friday all was silent then gunshots boomed through the sky. Since I was running next to the woods and wearing dark clothes – bad choice I know – I could only hope that it was not me being shot at. I’m more afraid of being shot in quaint old Castleton than in bustling Albuquerque.

I wonder what that says about me.

Hunting is something I have yet to get used to, and hope that I don’t. I cringe thinking about it, especially if people are hunting when I’m running. I like running in the morning, consequently when people go duck hunting in Alburg. I hear a gunshot then whoosh all the birds go up into the sky. Running through New Mexico is somehow calmer, even though you’re more apt to be rushed past by plenty of cars.

While nothing compares to running underneath the pulsating desert sun watching the hot air balloons go up, there’s something about running through the woods in Vermont that placates the soul – until the bullets go flying.

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