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How Do You Escape?

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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:

Quiet Hills

Quiet Hills

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.

Are you planning an escape this summer? Where to?

If you believe that you are too busy to get away, consider reading one of these posts:

https://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/are-you-too-busy-to-be-happy/

https://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/how-not-to-screw-up-your-holidays/

Shift Your Perspective: The Best Laid Plans…

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The car is packed, and I’m ready to go. Depressed, but ready. I just have to suck it up, and get on the road. I always feel this way when I close up my little New England house for the winter.

This was a good trip. I did a lot of writing, although it wasn’t necessarily what I had planned to write. But as they say, the best laid plans…

With a ten-hour drive ahead, I don’t have much time for journaling. I’m making good time with my to-do lists, and it’s only 7:30 a.m. All that’s left is to turn off the water and catch the cats. They’re usually behind the sofa bed. Peace out-

You’re walking funny this morning. Faster, like something’s up. Plus, you are talking out loud and we creatures of fur are not in the same space with you. You do not have the shiny black noise-maker in your paw, either. Who are you talking to? Something is different.

A zipper! I’d better make myself scarce. Last time you found me behind the sleeping place; where to go?

I’m back, ticked off because I only had thirty minutes scheduled to catch the cats, and I can’t find Eliza Bean. Maya was behind the sofa bed, but Eliza seems to have vanished. She’s too big to fit behind the stove where she used to go when she was a kitten, and I know she’s not behind the laundry hamper because I can always see her tail.

Weird. Well, it will only delay me more if I write – I was just frustrated and decided to vent.

Eliza Bean

Eliza Bean

I can’t fit behind the big box that gets hot anymore. Besides, you know that place. And the place you put the stinky skins you shed is too small; my tail sticks out.

 I am not letting you put me in that Mover. I feel sick in there, and there’s no room to stretch and no sunshine to nap in. You know we don’t like it, you know it. I hear you coming – where shall I go?

Hey! What’s in here? Brmmpp?

CRASH!

I cannot believe this. Eliza has managed to pull down a panel the plumber left leaning against the upstairs bathroom wall, and she’s gotten inside the wall and underneath the bathtub. I can’t see her, but I know she’s in there. Shit. What am I going to do?

Perfect…. It’s nice and dark. Mew. Spider webs.

Ouch! What’s that awful noise? My ears hurt. Are you doing that? You are hurting my ears! Ouch, my foot! I’d better go farther back here. Stop! Oh, you are going to be very sorry for this.

I’ve tried blasting rock music, banging on the bathtub, thrashing around with a broom. She’s not budging. This is crazy. It’s noon already. I’m going to kill her. I ought to board her up in there and leave her.

Oh now you have your sweet voice. The one when you want me on your lap. No, I don’t want treats. No, I don’t want food. I am not coming out. This puffy stuff in the walls is soft, and it’s still a little warm over the place of fire. I will have a nap. We will all just stay here for the afternoon until I am ready. I know you won’t leave me.

The old house has seen a lot in 225 years. Some of its favorite dramas involve this family and its felines.

Quiet Hills

Quiet Hills

In the 1950s, Grandmother’s white cat, Feather, played the hiding game and spent a whole day tucked behind the books on the living room shelf.

Then there was the one called Aunt Valerie, whose cat hid out in the woodshed and got sprayed by a skunk. Thirty years later, the house can still sense the smell.

And there was this one’s mother with her orange tabby, Triscuit, who slipped into the basement crawl space and delayed their trip home for two days.

Orange Tabby sleeping

The house thinks this one wouldn’t be so angry if she would only remember that these escapades turn into favorite family stories.

 

Yawn. It’s getting dark and chilly in here. I think I’ll go down now. I wonder if you’ve got any Trout Feast. I think I’d like the kind with gravy.

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This post is in response to the WordPress weekly writing challenge: Shift Your Perspective, encouraging bloggers to write from different points of view. It’s first person, second cat, and third house.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Shift Your Perspective | The Daily Post.

Lost in Yellow

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Today, I went for a hike around Meetinghouse Pond in southern New Hampshire.

Turns out, it wasn’t so  easy to follow the yellow-blazed trail markers through the blazing yellow trees.

I rested on a bench by the pond, and traced with my finger the letters carved into the wood.

 

I watched the wind ripple the water and thought, it’s OK to be lost.

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** You’ll notice the photo montage is something new for me. Sometimes I think my blog sounds a bit like a therapy session or a stream of consciousness, so . . . I’m responding to the WordPress Weekly Challenge, And Now For Something Completely Different. **  Be glad I got bored with doing Top Ten Reasons to be a Vegetarian — though you may still see that at some point!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-and-now-for-something-completely-different/

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