Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leaving New England

September Chores

It's finally happening.  Our house has sold, and the boxes are getting packed, and goodbyes are being said.
After almost 3 years of fixing up this old farmhouse, putting it on the market, and waiting and hoping, the day is drawing near and we will be leaving New England.  Most of my adult life has been spent here, or at least as many years here as in my native Texas.  But New England has been home.  It gets in one's soul, these
rural roads and byways, and rocky ledges and mossy stone walls, stately old farmhouses and pastures providing grazing for sheep and cattle... there's a history here, and a dignity of
labor and tradition.   I have been thinking lately, each time I visit a place, "will this be the last time?"
These thoughts bring a sadness, even in the midst of the adventure that lies ahead.  My life has been here, my friends are here, two precious granddaughters are here,  my "birth" as an artist is here.   How does one leave all that behind?   I'm not sure, but I do know that there are many things that I will miss.  Most of them are simple things, the stuff of everyday existence that is tied to these granite hills.  Here's a few that come to mind.
1. the sound of peepers in the spring.. a sure sign that winter is over.
2. the feel of crunchy leaves underfoot on a forest trail, and that pungent aroma that fall brings to the air.
3. the sight of Mt. Monadnock, guardian, solid, ever present.
4. stone walls that go on for miles, slowly sinking into the earth, covered in moss, but testament to herculean labors of man and beast in days gone by.
5. the sound of a hermit thrush deep in the forest.... those clear flute-like notes echoing through ancient woods like some hobbit inspired tale..
6. eating at Harlow's Pub in Peterborough.  Simple, good food, good beer, and friendly faces.
7. daffodils in the spring.
8. the first snowfall, and the squeaky feel of snow on a really cold winter day.
9. hoping to catch sight of the moose on Wapack trail in Sharon, but always  having to be satisfied with tracks and scat.
10. running along the rail trail in Jaffrey, my "home trail" - and knowing every single footstep for 10 miles.
11. water, ;plentiful, cool, clear, flowing, everywhere along the trails.  New Hampshire is blessed with abundance of this precious resource.
12. Old houses  and old barns.
13. The outrageous colors of autumn.
14.  The White Mountains.
15. Art-friendly communities.  We are mighty lucky here in that regard.
16. Real maple syrup.
17. my friends. This goes without saying, but there are some dear folks that have touched my heart deeply, and I will never forget them.   How do you say goodbye to folks like that?
18. my church family. Monadnock Congregational in Peterborough has been a warm, caring, and encouraging
sanctuary from the troubles of life. They have given me hope and stood by my side when days were hard.
They have pointed me towards the truth,  and made me accountable to live by it.
19. My dog, Tucker, whose grave is here,, but who goes with me in memory.
20. Most important, my two sweet grandbabies. They're not babies any more, but  all the times we have spent here are etched deep in my spirit, and I can recall countless small joys we have shared. Sure, they will come to visit us in our new home, but this is the hardest thing of all to leave.  Almost too hard to even think about.  

There are probably a hundred other things - all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and memories that are deeply embedded  here.  I am feeling a longing for "just once more" of so many little things, that are never again to be experienced.   I am greatly blessed to have been here. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about the adventures that lie  ahead. - and the mountains out west are grand and wonderful. There will be good times and happy days, and new friends, and new things to paint, and a new dog to share the trails with.  Even so,
leaving New England is a hard thing to do.

This will probably be the last post for quite awhile. I wish all of you happy mosquito season, and the hazy lazy days of summer that approach, time with family and friends, holidays and vacation days... gardening and mowing, and apple picking and leaf raking.  Do you all know how lucky you are?