When on a snow-ridden afternoon you venture out into the backwoods of Montpelier, Vermont: down a steep hill past people on snowshoes who look curiously at you and your peacoat, scarf, and galoshes, up an even steeper hill where you see fresh tracks in the snow that might be a wolf or might be a dog’s diverging from the path into the woods, then you see a broad figure hunched over at the crest of the hill and think it’s a bear but it’s just a guy strapping his feet to a snowboard, and you keep walking until you realize you’ve gone in circles looking for this special place, an old slate quarry you used to enter in past summers—a 300-foot gash in the planet’s crust that you’ve heard people describe as a natural wonder, which strikes you as curious considering this is not a seismic fissure but a by-product of human industry, natural only in the evidence it gives of the planet healing itself. But this is not why—finally, after two trips round the makeshift canyon—you slip in through its cervical opening, travel in through its narrow slate passway that blocks out all sky, finally reaching its cool, warm center. You go here now because it is so solitary and so so silent, the discarded cans and Wu-Tang graffiti reinforcing a sense of community you value most: Those who were here, but are not here now, speaking with you in my voice.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

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AuthorJohn Proctor