I have a few bad memories associated with Brattleboro, Vermont. About four years ago I was unwittingly dragged into a dramatic-turned-traumatic series of events involving my longtime friend and another woman my friend had been casually dating at the time. It interrupted my life, invaded my privacy, caused me unnecessary grief and subsequent health issues from the stress- and took a very long time for me to move past. My relationship with my friend was forever altered as a result.
Up until recently, I couldn’t even step foot in the town which had been the epicenter of this chaos. Doing so always reminded me of what I had been unjustly put through and would result in my getting emotional and having to promptly leave- which wasn’t really an ongoing issue since I didn’t live in the Pioneer Valley at the time and rarely needed to go to Vermont anyway.
Of course, now that I travel there frequently for social distancing hikes and sightseeing- Brattleboro is the one place that links me to the rest of the state. I have to travel through there- which means I’ve had to take a deep breath and deal with whatever anxiety or anguish bubbled up as I approached the town limits.
It hasn’t always been ideal- but with the more time that passes- the easier it gets. I’ve found that actively making better and more positive memories while I’m there has helped fade the bad ones a bit more- and earlier this week I had a lovely time swimming in the West River that runs through Brattleboro when it was exceptionally hot outside.
Although the amount of people there splashing around or lounging on the riverbed without masks on was alarming and a little discouraging- I managed to find a secluded area further upstream where I could sit by myself, wade comfortably in the water, watch tadpoles swim beneath me- and snap some photos without being disturbed. It was a nice way to unwind and cool off.
And given that the current was visibly pretty strong- I really am tempted to buy one of those gigantic Unicorn-shaped rafts one of these days and just casually cruise down the river until I either reach the ocean or the authorities fish me out with a big net or a grappling hook or something.