Cognito!

Cognito is our 2005 Ford Escape. We call him that so that when we go somewhere, we can go there “In Cognito”. He’s an AWD V6 XLT with just over 75,000 miles on him. We got him a few weeks ago as a replacement for our 1994 Saab 900s named “Garrincha”: a great car, but we’re feeling more outdoorsy than before.

Speaking of which, we have big plans for Cognito: brush bar, some under-car armor, roof rack, and some better tires. Then, of course, we’ll need rally lights, some stronger suspension, and some welded support for the struts, sway bars, and whatnot. That kind of thing will happen much later, if at all.  Heck, I’m even thinking of installing a snorkel and CB radio!

The end goal? To tote around hiking and fishing gear, explore unknown places, and just generally tool around places we weren’t able to reach with the Saab.

Specifically, I’m looking forward to driving up to and around Vermont in a couple of weeks. There are some gravel pits in my hometown I’m dying to tool around in, and it seems that an old friend of mine is up for the adventure.

Familiar sounds; Torn heart

At the top of the page, you’ve probably noticed a little iframe widgety thing. Contained therein are the songs currently playing at WNCS, FM 104.7 (pointfm.com) out of Montpelier, VT. If there is a phenomenon of a radio station being the center of a teenager’s life, then this one was mine.

When the options for radio included country, speed metal crap rock, big hair bands, soft rock, and country, WNCS floated its alterna-folk-rock sounds to my bedroom and car in those formative years. Though static was what I most often heard — being nestled in the Buffalo Mountain valley will do that — I knew that when I came up out of the valley between Hardwick and Woodbury, the sound would clear and so would my head.

I don’t know if it’s possible to explain how calming and exciting it is to be able to tune in to the familiar — but also new — sounds from here in Massachusetts nearly 15 years later. Static-free, zipping along co-ax and fiber-optic cable instead of bouncing off of clouds, ‘NCS still calms my soul and reminds me where I’m from. In the moments between notes I can drive once again along Route 12 between Montpelier and Elmore after dropping dad off at work. I can feel the cold morning air rushing against my face through the open window of an ’82 Ford wagon (Farley, I called him).

Up until a day ago, I kept forgetting how much a part of my life music really is. Finding ‘NCS again is a reminder that I do have a sound in my head and that it’s not half bad.

Take a listen if you can. I don’t know if the sounds will mean the same thing outside of Vermont, outside of my head, beyond the confines of an old brown Ford, but who knows. Maybe you’ll get a sense of what it was like growing up where everything — including your future — seemed so far away and hard to get to. “You can’t get there from here” wasn’t just a local color cliche. In parts of Vermont, it’s true.

I’m just glad ‘NCS can get here from there.