This morning I drove east and south to Corinth, Vermont, to continue my hunt for the beams we need for a major kitchen renovation. Tillotson's, an architectural salvage operation on the left side of the road heading toward Bradford, made me weak with pleasure; I've never seen so many doors,windows, floorboards, grilles, knobs, hinges, doodads, you-name it, all in one place.
Customers are allowed to wander through what seems like an infinity of buildings (although I learned that this spring they are erecting yet another storage barn), each with its own category of surprises--this section is all fascia and trim (several miles of it), over there are the windows, clear and stained, in here plinths and columns, around the back the wide floorboards and the fire surrounds, to say nothing of the sinks, the boxes of hardware, and enough beadboard to finish off a medium-sized colony of summer houses.
I found and bought my beams but couldn't leave, and the longer I was there the happier I got--I wanted to take one of everything and cobble together for myself a shed, a gazebo, a fence, a funky, drafty greenhouse. I even wanted the doorknobs for pete's sake already-- even though as far as I know I have the right number of doorknobs at home.
All this abundance is surrounded by the default but trademark Vermont silence--the only sounds were the ones I was making as I slithered between piles of window trim, shutters, and newel posts. The anxious little patter song that seems to run forever in my head simply stopped, along with my sense of elapsed time; I got there about ten and emerged in the early afternoon. I'm already looking forward to going back to Tillotson's--it's been a while since I have been so thoughtlessly happy, caught up in an unmediated and uncomplicated joy in the things we make that are poised to be used again.