Note: This is Part 2. Click here for Part 1 of my trip to Burlington, Vermont.
The Accord Motor Inn
After five hours of slumber at the modest Accord Motor Inn, I woke up at sunrise. I peered through my tented windows and saw an old church next to an old cemetery. A one-stop shop for existential anxiety. Delirious and lacking all mental acuity, I drove in circles trying to find Burlington’s miniature replica of Stone Henge. I failed. (Pathetically, six hours later I realized I had been to the original Stone Henge just a few years prior.)
I eventually parked and wandered into Panera Bread, the only decent establishment open at 7:30 in this college town. I ordered, hurried to the bathroom for a much-needed splash of water across the face and then brushed my teeth. I laughed at the irony of needing to find a “decent establishment” for a temporarily homeless man to brush his teeth.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
My next task was to salvage some dignity out of sleeping in a car. Every hotel was sold out due to the annual Vermont International Film Festival, a realization I did not have until I was bombarded with posters on every corner. I bought tickets for the first show of the day, a short film called Magnetic Reconnection and the feature film, It’s Such a Beautiful Day. Both films exposed our pathetic, ephemeral lives quite well.
Through use of simplistic, effective animation, It’s Such a Beautiful Day chronicled a man named Bill slipping into dementia. As Bill’s memories faded, his perceptual awareness became sharper. Bill’s clear observations reached an apex on a sunny day in which he finally saw the full beauty of a gorgeous California flower in bloom and the brilliant texture and striking green of individual blades of grass. At the low point of what we consider healthy human consciousness, Bill experienced zen-like mindfulness.
I was immediately struck by how relevant this was to my earlier struggle to appreciate this town’s beauty. The electronic shutters slowly receded and the large glass windows revealed a resplendent sun over Lake Champlain. It’s such a beautiful day, indeed. This played on repeat as I spent the day biking around the lake.
Burlington, Vermont: The Best of the Rest