News from Vermont #382 If You Can’t Beat’em, Join’em!

June 9, 2017

Hello again Maple People,
A few years ago I wrote about the tiny village of Adamant and once again, it’s worthy of more than a mention. In fact Adamant’s literally “in my face” these days every time I go into the woods because t’is the season….Black Fly Season that is. Adamant is the black fly capital of the world. With a perfect “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude, Adamanters toast the nastiest of all flying creatures with their famous Black Fly Festival every year. The celebration opens with a nature walk around the shores of Sodom Pond with naturalist Rich Czaplinski. Then, some recorded music by the babbling brook leads to the performances by several live musical groups throughout the day. The grill starts at eleven for foot-long hotdogs, chicken sausage, black bean burgers, and lots more…gotta keep those humans succulent and tasty for the black flies…then it’s  onto a silent auction, a writers’ slam hosted by Central Vermont’s own “Shakespeare”, Geof Hewitt, and a world-class parade.
 Last year this old black fly groupie dressed up his doodle bug (homemade tractor) as an insect, and drove it on up for a parade appearance. And, I might add, that stunningly ugly contraption fit in great and mixed with everything from goats veiled with insect nets to Pitz Quatrone’s one man, one note didgeridoo marching band to kids on wagons celebrating nature’s prime annoyance. And the theme color…what else?…basic black.
Although the Black Fly Festival is a “must go”, Adamant is a great place to visit anytime. A few weeks ago my friend Bill Kaplan, sensing that I needed to get off the farm, appeared one day with his canoe and fishing gear. As I remember, his salutation
 was a bit stingy…something like, “Get in!” It was a beautiful day, about the only one we had that month, as we headed up to Adamant. We put in at the upper pond and the combination of lazy paddling and drifting led us north toward humongous slag piles and abandoned derricks left from long ago granite quarrying. An Adamant visit is more than a visit…it’s a history lesson. As we drifted, an eagle perched on an overhanging limb as if to say “This is my land”. The day was perfect, one of those “glad to be alive days”.
We and no doubt the eagle, found there “waant no blinkin’ fish in there” but that was fine with us…catching fish means y’gotta take ’em off the hook and figure out what to do with ’em. After a couple hours we headed back toward Bill’s car. While we were loading up the canoe, Robby Porter, a native of Adamant, stopped to visit. Robby shared some of the area’s history and we talked about some departed Adamant characters I remember well like Harrison Hood, Nelson Chase, and Wilfred Slayton. Finally, Bill delivered me, newly recharged, back to our farm.
Back at the Black Fly Festival: The festival always culminates with a sincere wish that all the black flies will die at day’s end. Sometimes they cooperate and sometimes they don’t, but the nasty little things always do their job…they give folks a reason to get together for a festive day of arts and entertainment. And yes, up there in Adamant, festivals come with a history lesson or two.

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