Editor’s note: Emma Pell is a freshman at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. Missing Vermont and Shelburne particularly, she recently made her childhood hometown the subject of a class assignment to write a love letter. She shares it here with readers of the Shelburne News.
My dearest Shelburne,
I know it has been so long, too long, since our last meeting. Despite this enduring separation, my love for you has never ceased to underscore my daily existence. In the sweet comfort of fresh, cotton sheets I recall the recoiling of my skin from your chilling temperatures, making goosebumps feel natural. As I drift nightly into the world of unconscious imaginings, I am unable to escape the memory of my youthful feet pounding upon your uneven streets, beating the drum of your worn pavement where generations of children have grown up pedaling furiously and falling gracefully from their bicycles.
People on this side of our vast, sprawling nation have no appreciation for these simple delights. Skiing along your wooded avenues is unimaginable and inexplicable to these foreigners, whose encounters with true winter are laughable to me and you. They lack the understanding between human and community, as you and I have shared, that people do not merely exist within their towns and cities, but with them. You have provided me with such comfort, misery, joy, confusion, happiness, and anger as I could never experience with another town, and that I would never want to.
Each juncture of your rural lanes holds an image in my mind, so vivid that even those which tormented me at times past now bring me immense joy – the joy of having had the pleasure of making your lovely acquaintance, and having been given the gift of becoming the young woman I am today alongside you. I can call to mind, more strongly than any particular physical space, the relationships you fostered between myself those I’m blessed to have met through your talent at gathering similar souls. Each person and creature whom I encountered during the baker’s dozen of years we shared holds a place in my heart which I can only describe as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, one whose final image would be incomplete without the unique contribution of each and every being residing in your circle of comfort, from which I am heartbroken to have been torn away from those thirty long months ago.
While I miss you increasingly desperately with each passing minute, day, month, and year, I do not wish for you to dwell on the sadness that leaving you has brought upon me. I ask of you only that for the years, decades, or however long it may be before our paths gloriously cross again, that with each friend, neighbor, and stranger that has the pleasure of passing through your gates, you remember the girl who called you home for so long, and know that the people, places, and memories you hold in your care, each and every one, will remain in my heart forever; my true home will always be in your arms.
Until we meet again,
Shelburne Community School class of 2013