Noticed Around Brattleboro – Spring 2020

I almost forgot that we needed a new “Noticed” for the new season. This should be an interesting one. I expect some of these observations to change as time goes on.

I noticed some people at St Michaels’ today loading up a truck. Looked like volunteers working to make some deliveries.

True Value hardware is letting people order things outside and they’ll go in and get ’em for you.

Staples appears to be open. Not sure why. They have delivery options.

I saw some robins flying about.

There was almost zero traffic at the Exit 3 circle at 5pm last Friday. Typically the rush hour crush causes lines of cars to form.

Seeing more neighbors out walking about, and maintaining distance, than ever before.

Comments | 13

  • I noticed...

    The red-wing blackbirds have returned. Their call sounds like a dot matrix printer’s carriage-return. Well, it sounds like that to me!

    My crocus in the front yard have come up. They might be grouchy under all that snow, though.

    When I took my trash out at 8am today, only one car drove by on my busy street. Usually, rush hour is pretty intense on my road. Well, intense for around here.

    My forsythia is *just* starting to bud.

    When I need a sanity break and want to get out of the house, I drive over to the marina and look at the afternoon sun dancing on the ripples of the water. It’s beautiful. And, if you kinda zone out, it’s pretty psychedelic, too.

  • Also

    Gas prices under $2 a gallon in some places…

    More people riding bikes and out for walks than usual.

    Much less traffic on the streets.

  • Noticed

    Last bit of snow melted in front yard.

    Saw first robin today

    Woke up to a bird chirping

    Crocus out. Daffodils just coming out of the ground

    People out raking and cleaning up yards.

    Lots more walkers and less traffic.

    Someone shared this “Spring Came” and it could look like how Spring comes slowly to Vermont even though it was not filmed here :

  • For future historians

    Spring is definitely getting underway as we head toward May. Trees are starting to bud, flowers are appearing, birds are active.

    Future historians might wonder what this pandemic period was like. (Hi, future historians… what year is it?)

    If you go out and wander about, things are relatively quiet. There are fewer cars and trucks on the road. Normally busy sidewalks are almost empty. Some people are wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus; others aren’t.

    Retail stores are closed, though some are making efforts to sell things at their curbside rather than have anyone gather in their stores.

    Places that serve food are open, but business is obviously way down. Many have homemade signs in the windows pleading for customers to try take out, delivery, or curbside pickup. Other stores have signs telling customers when they expect to reopen, or how to get in touch while closed.

    Grocery stores, banks, and gas stations are the primary open businesses. They are both islands of normalcy (I’m shopping just as I have always done!), and weirdness (stay away from me!).

    Arriving at a store, one surveys the license plates to see how many are from out of state. Oh, great, NY and CT plates. I’ll wait.

    When the coast is clear, one puts on gloves and a face mask and goes into the store. The doorway is a bottleneck and sometimes you meet someone coming out, so the safety dance occurs. One pauses and backs up to give the other space to get by. In theory. Some people aren’t following social distancing guidelines, so one can find themselves stopping, heading down unused aisles, leaping suddenly to one side of an aisle, holding one’s breath as someone passes, and so on.

    The food supply is holding up fairly well, though there always seems to be something important that is out of stock. Grabbing items as they are available is becoming a new shopping skill.

    Checkout is the other bottleneck, where customers are supposed to stand 6 ft apart in line. Sometimes this works. Some people get too close. The cashier is behind a sheet of plastic erected on the counter for virus protection. This, plus the wearing of masks, makes it almost impossible to understand what anyone at the checkout is saying.

    There is very little news other than COVID-19 updates. Governors give multiple press conferences a week, the President has a daily briefing, and stories all relate to the virus or the shutdown. We check the daily stats of new cases and infection rates, etc.

    At this juncture, there is tension between those who want to “return to normal” quickly and those who are being more cautious. The majority is cautious. I’m in no hurry to “return” and don’t think returning to what we had a few months ago is even possible. It’s time for reimagining and improving.

    Stimulus funds from the government to provide relief have been slow to get out to people. Too little and too late. How anyone was supposed to live for the last 6 weeks without income is beyond me. Somehow people seem to be managing, though my gut tells me the breaking point is near for some.

    Interestingly, in Brattleboro, homelessness has been eliminated. Everyone who needs shelter has it. It’s a rather astounding side effect. Did we need capitalism to shut down before we cared enough? Were we blinded and unable to see our ability to accomplish this goal?

    Lately, as I look around, I’m wondering what of all of this we really need to keep going, and what we might be better without. What do we have that we really don’t need? What do we really need that we don’t have? (The lack of sewing supplies, with no sewing or fabric stores in town, is an obvious weak link. How does one make masks with no supplies?)

  • A tornado warning

    A bit unusual for these parts – we had a tornado watch then warning as a fierce front passed over southern Vermont.

    Most of the region got alerts of some sort, then took cover. We headed into the basement for a while.

  • Reopening

    Some stores have reopened. I saw open doors at Beadniks, Trillium, Turn It Up, and others. Lots of mask wearing staff and not many shoppers on the street.

  • Not getting my hopes up

    May 22, still in COVID-19 land, and the swimming holes along RT 30 are filled with out of state plates (mingling with the few locals that are alongside them).

    Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Georgia… all places with more cases than VT.

    Brattleboro continues to market itself to tourists, too. Mostly encouraging people in other parts of the state to visit, but social media has no boundaries and they are reminding people to come our way. (see above) The 14 day quarantine will be ignored by many.

  • Make way for goslings

    Small traffic backup on RT 30 near the Retreat Meadows today as a pair of geese and their goslings walked across the road.

    Also on Rt 30, near Stickney Brook, were a family of deer. Mom and some kids at the edge of the woods, contemplating heading over to the West River.

  • A sign on Putney Road

    This made me laugh…

    “Surprise her with an excavator! $325 per day…”

  • Fighter jets over Newfane

    Ok, it’s not Brattleboro, but it’s in the neighborhood. For the last half hour, two planes that look and sound like F35s have been practicing some sort of maneuvers in a loop around Newfane. Rumor has it that they’re loud — I can attest to that. They’re the kind of loud that has you wondering if you should be running for cover instead of gaping at the sky. Not sure if they made it to Brattleboro or not, where they came from or where they’re going, but it was more than a little odd to experience this in the middle of everything else that’s going on. Do we live in a police state? Maybe not, but fighter jets overhead didn’t help alleviate that fear.

    • Again...

      Is this part of the new normal? Jets doing acrobatics above Vermont?

      A pair of them are out again, zooming about overhead. They come and go, sometimes doing dogfight-like turns and chases.

    • From Massachusetts or NJ!

      I wrote to the VT Air National Guard and they say:

      “The planes in southern Vermont are not Vermont Air National Guard F-35’s. We are working to confirm this but our understanding is that they are F-15’s from either the Massachusetts or New Jersey Air National Guards conducting routine training in this air space. When I have more information regarding who they belong to and the duration of their mission in this airspace I will let you know.”

  • Protest

    Protest at the Retreat by employees – again.

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