JOURNAL REFLECTIONS FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE

My “journal snippets” are popular hereabouts, though I can’t think why: they are even more rambling than my regular blogs! Still, they couldn’t be easier to write, so here are thoughts from the first days of my autumn retreat to my little house in rural New Hampshire:

black and white quiet hills

Quiet Hills

Oct 2

Welcome, Mel! Welcome to a flooded cellar, no water, no heat, mildew on everything, and a dead mouse in the toilet. Very dead. But that was last night – this morning the cellar has drained, so I got to the water pump and now have water. The oil burner flooded out, though, and it’s not working. One thing at a time – at least I have a fireplace.

Oct 3

I’m feeling a little down and need to connect. Isn’t it funny that I feel as if I’m connecting to something, someone, in these pages? Is it me – my true self? God? The world? A future reader? This book is a friend, a true friend. What if it talked back? Would it give me advice? Would it say, “Now Mel, we’ve been through this before,” or some such thing? No, you feel safe and wise and welcoming, Book, like a dear friend.  You would say, “Are you OK? You look down today,” and I would answer, “I kind of am.”

Oct 5

I’m officially taking the day off, as Biff (my deceased brother) used to say when he was depressed. I will not try, and I will not feel bad about not trying. Read, write, maybe go to town for some food. Early dinner and a fire? Sounds good. I had to laugh – kind of – as I was sorting through stacks of books I got at the used book store last year and left up here. Too many books about grief! I’m enjoying digging through recipe books. Windy today.

Oct 6

Really, God? Really?? {Here I share a friend’s personal tragedy, another seemingly senseless and untimely death.} And another campus shooting – this one killed 9 in Oregon; the U.S. bombed a hospital in Afghanistan ON PURPOSE and doctors describe patients burning in their beds; landslide in Guatemala kills hundreds. Really, God? Really?? I feel like I should not come to NH – is it just because I’m alone here, or do dreadful things always happen when I’m here? My poor little human mind, frantically looking for meaning, patterns, reasons – isn’t there anything I can do? I must do everything in my power to bring love and kindness here. I must not waste what God has given me.

The beauty and the darkness are sometimes one and the same

The beauty and the darkness are sometimes one and the same

Oct 7

I’ve lit a beeswax candle and put on Baroque music. Tea. Filled the birdfeeder, took a hot shower, sat for a sleepy twenty minutes of Centering Prayer, had lentil soup & toast. Today is better. I scrubbed a little mildew, but mostly simply read. I haven’t written anything since I got here, and that will just have to be OK.

Oct 8

Lovely fall day, slept ten hours. I love reading the Bible. Today I will do what is pleasing to God. That is my goal. I love thinking about God, reading about God, writing about God. In the book of James, it says “Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.” Today I will draw near to God and try to do what pleases Her. Take a walk in her lovely creation. That will help with the funk that’s been lurking in the shadows of the house. Lots of ghosts here.

Oct 9

I’m looking forward to Jeff & the kids getting here (nephew). Jeff doesn’t have to work, so he’ll be on real vacation. Nice drives through the foliage – yay! Plus, he’s up for the climate rally in Manchester, so I will really enjoy that – talking about the issues with the kids, making signs, chanting together. I have to laugh at how carefully I cleaned the house the first time the kids came, on the lookout for every sign of mouse, every speck of paint, every spider web. Now it’s like – OK, this rug was vacuumed 3 months ago, next?

Oct 11

The leaves are peaking here, very pretty. So a drive tomorrow is in order after the family arrives. Putney farmer’s market, Walpole ice cream? We’ll see…

A painting of Quiet Hills done by Great Niece #1

A painting of Quiet Hills done by Great Niece #1

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