Vermont Roads : 4

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

For years, Swamp Road never impressed me. Even the name was ugly. Swamp Road was the short-cut to my job in East Middlebury, waiting tables for the Waybury Inn. I drove and biked this road hundreds of times, dreading a late-shift or endless brunch; then I returned home, exhausted, never noticing the bucolic landscape.

New England is famous for its covered bridges, and entire coffee-table books are jammed with pictures of wood-framed spans. Like the lighthouses of Maine, the covered bridge began as functional architecture; over time, they’ve become emblems of New England life. As we crawled down Swamp Road, we reached the bridge that crosses Otter Creek. The bridge was recently rebuilt, and fresh wood has replaced the rotted lumber of years past.

Change — even modest change, like an upgraded bridge — is hard to swallow. Life is slow in Vermont, but not stagnant.

My parents tell me a new bridge is being constructed in Middlebury. The project is controversial, and the design is indisputably ugly. Somehow the project has backed up the flow of Otter Creek, and the fields of Swamp Road are flooded. This is common; it  is a swamp. But flooding occurs in Spring, not in September. It’s eerie, watching my hometown tampered with. For all their egotism and xenophobia, Vermonters are generally careful people. This new project is the emperor’s new clothes.

Clearly, not all bridges are created equal.


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