Next week I will head north, like a compass needle seeking home. After six months away, my annual early summer trip to our family home in the foothills of New Hampshire is always a sweet time.
This first trip will be short — mostly dispensing with mice and mildew and catching up with my neighbors. But I’ll be back and forth all summer, sweltering in the D.C. suburbs for a few weeks and then easing back into the serenity of New England.
In reality, there will be biting black flies and voracious mosquitoes up there, but in my mind it’s paradise.
At any rate, the WordPress Gods’ Weekly Challenge asking for photos that say “escape” is kind of a no-brainer for me.
Here is my escape:
A Sneak Peek into History
Here is a short excerpt from an essay that has yet to find an appropriate publication to snuggle into, so I can’t share much of it lest it be deemed “published” by my future editor – just a sneak peek:
My grandmother Beedie bought the white Cape Cod with its four ramshackle outbuildings in 1940, after her merchant husband died in what Newsweek magazine called “a fiery elaborate hell at sea.” Investigations of the Morro Castle ship fire subjected families and survivors to nightmarish scenarios of suspected arson, murder and panicked crew members absconding with lifeboats while passengers drowned or burned.
The shaken young widow found comfort working in her flower garden by day, and at night she was entranced by luminous showers of fireflies and stars strewn across the heavens. Deep winter snows softened the edges of her pain. She christened her house and the surrounding forty acres “Quiet Hills” and so created a healing refuge for five generations of her family.
My earliest memories of Quiet Hills are captured in a faded black and white photograph of the two of us in the shade of a massive oak tree. My pudgy four-year-old legs dangle from a tiny Adirondack chair and Beedie sits straight-backed, primly sipping English Breakfast tea. I remember the older kids were racing about on a treasure hunt, upending maple sugar buckets, peering into the lichen-covered well house and scaling the barn silo. I couldn’t tell if it was a good or a bad thing when Beedie remarked, “The hills aren’t so quiet when your family is here.” But she was smiling.
If you are the editor of a well-read and well-paying publication, feel free to contact me if you would like to read this essay in its entirety.