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June 18, 2024

Kelsey Kraemer, will you marry me? ~ Waylon Lewis

From Burlington to Karme Choling to Stockbridge to Boston.

Now:

Sitting in 1369 cafe in Central Square, with her.

She’s wearing a ridiculously boldly brilliantly blue vintage dress we bought in The Vault in Burlington, where we biked along the Causeway, Stone Soup buffeted, Jazz Fested a little, fawned over the old buildings, the turret forests. We stayed in an old turret in an old BnB, support local not airbnb generally, a walk down the hill or up to the water. The town still dealing with drug and mental health and homelessness, or not dealing with it. Similar to Boulder, perhaps moreso.

Fuller writeup of Burlington adventures and deep thoughts, here. 

A brief stop in capitol Montpelier for a walk, antique shop, ev charging. The community recovering more and more from devastating flood: Vermont is not immune from the terrors we’re inflicting on our own earth.

Karme Choling: the place feels wholesome, tired, needing love, but full of love and community nevertheless. Relics of theism: can’t go in the main door, anymore. Croaking frogs at night. The organic garden, the Pavilion where we’ll get married this Autumn, Kelsey takes Refuge (already had) and Bodhisattva Vows with Ringu Tulku, the relaxed and humorous and self-proclaimed lazy monk. Some of his laziness I appreciate, some of it feels lazy (lack of personal interviews names for folks, kinda assembly line).

A morning and a stop in St. Johnsbury, where I went to high school: the art and book and history-ful Athenaeum where I studied in high school, and where Kelsey joyfully wanted to seal the deal on the same date as that inside her ring from 116 years ago. Moose River, a wonderful local shop for mostly-local gifts. Kelsey finds an oil cloth hat. No time for the wonderful Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium: next time.

A stop in Brattleboro for e-charging our car and vegan lunch on the river, stocking up on healthy plastic-free snacks at the Co-op.

Another stop in Northampton the way to Stockbridge with vegan ice cream and a public salsa dance (and elder gent comes and teaches me, holding my hand, says it’ll be beautiful when I learn) in Brattleboro to Stockbridge

Stockbridge:

Kripalu yoga, amazing lunch buffet with mindful eating guidelines that helped my life when I read and memorized them 5 years ago, a walk to the lake.

Norman Rockwell Museum with paintings from his freed-up activist period following his quitting the highest-paid illustrator job in America.

We stayed at Red Lion, perhaps the best hotel stay I’ve ever enjoyed. Antique, tattered, yet regal and homey, thoughtful, not corporate at all. Sitting in the hot tub, stretching out in the cool pool, reading with Kelsey regal and elegant with her book, hair up to stay dry. A bike ride on two worse for the wear bikes in the shadesun.

Red Lion: go there. Too few vegan options (served on gorgeous fun china) but we dine in the little round booth with the old signs and are hemmed in tight by the nook, making it easy to hear one another. A little plastic (for to go water, what happened to waxed paper, nothing more old-timey than that), but the family-owned lovingly antique furnished and rug-ed 250 year old nookful magical fun family and dog and cat friendly old hotel is 99% integrity, lineage, history. The town itself a truck-battered Main Street with tourism pounding the mediocre shops in the Rockwell-made famous handsome buildings. Stockbridge councillors: ban heavy trucks from main street, reroute ’em, create a few bike paths, make it safer for the 1000s of elderly pedestrians flocking to famous Berkshire Theater and Tanglewood, where Tay-Tay Taylor Swift played with James Taylor recently and said she was named after him.

Yesterday, in Concord on the way from Stockbridge to Boston in our EV6, first time EVing. It’s been pretty easy, plenty of chargers, super cheap, quiet, fast, a good learning experience with some frustration that the Infrastructure Act will ease unless Trump comes in to kill EVs, as he’s promised to do. We stop at Nourish, big vegan bowls, organic, local food, across from an old antique shop where I then we talk and listen with the elderly proprietor and she cries, talking about her late daughter, she orders us to get our cancer screenings. We find a tweed cape with four moths in it and it’s amazing but we’re in a rush. While I drive, Kelsey does 45 minutes on hold with Dollar to extend our rental so we can see the historic homes of our heroines and heroes.

So we drive yesterday to Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, Thoreau playing flute on the lawn, Bronson could have been successful but his schools closed when he insisted on educating not only women (he even built Louisa’s writing desk for her room) but a young black child. Emerson helped pay for the house when they were hard up. He met Lincoln, Grant. When the roof burned down, the whole town came to help their beloved friend, then gofundme’d to send him and a daughter to Europe. A photographer was so inspired by Emerson’s Nature that he devoted his work to nature photography, inspiring the work of Ansel Adams. Thoreau’s cabin, the view full of light and shade and birdsong and insects floating in the sunset. Walden pond full of music blaring, children playing in the sunblinding water, mostly Latino, a park for locals not merely tourists. An antique shop where we buy two little antique boxes for our rings.

We’re engaged, now, finally formally.

 

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It happened up at Trungpa Rinpoche’s Purkhang above Karme Choling, where I lived during high school and for years after ’twas my home-away-from-home when at school in Boston, at Boston University, for journalism, politics, creative writing.

My proposal “I’ve asked you privately, but now it’s time to ask in front of sangha. Will you marry me, Kelsey Anne Kraemer? I’ve waited for you my whole life, you’re my match.” This was the Inner; no photos, no video, only sangha and green grass and the blessings of the dralas–so powerful there. Ringu Tulku meditating alone in the field as we approached. Her antique ring containing all our stories how we got here, glowing red and grateful, joyful, bright, brilliant in the tears and sunshine.

Our private “Secret” more informal proposals have been regular and sweet but were between us and the sheets were too hot. Our love sweet and honeyed.

Our Outer proposal is here: enjoy! We sure did, and were wildly famous for a good 15 minutes as we walked around and everyone congratulated us, entire sections applauding, so fun and sweet. Boston was full of book stores (Brattle, Brattle where we found a precious Emerson tome and left and recovered the USA-made cap I’m wearing now from West Major), biking (love, hate Blue Bikes, which ripped me off but made Boston bikeable, an idea that brings cleaner air, healthier locals and tourists, and more peace to the roads (more good folks on more roads, moving slowly or carefully). Favorites: the Gardner Museum, of course, Life Alive where we ate at least 4 or 5 times in 4 days, the old tobacco shop in Cambridge / Harvard Square (go), Newbury Street, the brownstones with red brick and red rock and turquoise copper on Commonwealth Avenue, our walking tour of the State Capitol (thanks, Katy Adams), our bright tour of the Mapparium with its new light-show-well-wishes for world peace.

She has a child. We’re both wanting and loving of family, home, historic preservation, cycling, animals and vegan, may it be of benefit. I’d been long waiting a match in love, disappointed yet trying and still barely hopeful, for 10 years.

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