Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Things I Love About Autumn in New England #2

#2 Farm Stands.

I have a favorite farm stand that sells corn almost exclusively, and for good reason. It's the best corn around these parts. This farmer knows his corn. But most impressive? He knows how to grow corn in rocky New Hampshire soil.

It's the perfect addition to quesadillas, a traditional New England food. Really. Didn't you know the pilgrims ate quesadillas when they left the Mayflower? No? Ok, I'm kidding, but it does go well with lobster rolls, or as we like to call them, "lobstah rolls." It's the perfect base for corn chowder (chowdah), or corn bread, or corn waffles.

Just down about a mile from him, is the apple orchard, where a bushel of seconds (good for making apple butter) is only $8. New England thriftiness goes hand in hand with farm stands. Thrifty or not, we eat well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Things I Love About Autumn in New England #1

Some people send out a daily gratitude in November. I find that life is too harried then. But it's not now. It's autumn in New England, people, and it's glorious, so for the foreseeable future (or until I become buried in downed leaves) here are the things I love about autumn in New England.

#1. Yesterday morning, I heard church bells ringing at 8:00 am. Aren't church bells the most wonderful thing? They make me feel like I'm part of a community, being summoned to worship on a Sunday morning. Church bells make me think of best dresses and hat pins and pot roast and apple pie. I imagine some kid pulling the bell rope, flying up and down with the movement of the bell. Voices lifted in hymns. Prayers and praise and pews.

Though church bells aren't specifically autumn things, or even New England things, for some reason, autumn is the time when I most often hear these bells, and New England is the place I associate with church bells. Every town around here seems to have a trim white church with a cupola enclosing a cheerful bell, and when it's time, those bells ring for all they're worth.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hearing Voices

On the way home from the cemetery, I heard your voice in my head, the Brooklyn-made-tangible voice, the one with lots of glottal stops and dropped endings. I tried to listen to that voice, but I couldn't make it say anything--all that I heard was sound and laughter. No meaning, just sound. Still, there you were. Your voice was in my head, and I played it over and over again, so you'd never be gone. Any time I wanted a visit, I'd just have to shuffle through the soundtracks in my mind until I found the Brooklyn-made-tangible one.

We walked through the grass to visit other graves, other voices I carry within me. I hit the play button on those soundtracks, and heard other voices, and saw other faces, but your voice is the strongest. Your laughter was always the loudest, your spirit the most present.

It'll be some time before we meet again. You knew that though. You'd always say, "See you sooner," then you'd point to the sky, "or later." That was how you said so long. We'd turn to leave, and you'd say, "See you sooner...or later," then chuckle.

So long. See you later. And until then, I'll hear your voice in my head.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Once upon a time, you stood upon an empty stage. Space surrounded you: stage left, stage right, upstage, downstage. Just you and the space and the lights and possibility. You longed to fill the space: the air with music, the stage with dance. The dance was for you and you alone, regardless of who might be there watching. There were no rules, only technique, and the technique had been drilled into you so often that your muscles retained it in their memory. The dance was automatic.

Once upon a time, you stood in a wide open piazza, bordered by tall buildings, a fountain, a tower, cafes. People and pigeons traversed the bricks, unchoreographed, uncaring. You longed to join them, to become one with their movement and their language, indistinguishable in the mix. You looked like one of them. People would even ask you for directions. But the words tumbled in your mouth, strange and broken. They were unruly birds, these words, flapping their wings and flying away before anyone could know what they were supposed to be or do. Deep in your heart, you knew you were an imposter.

Now you sit before a blank page. You climb up onto it, walk from edge to edge. You peek over the side. It's a long way down. There's nothing here to hinder you, nothing to make you pause. You turn around, staring at the snowy expanse before you. It's rather scary, all that openness, all that possibility. You lie down on it, roll around. Wish for some sort of texture or geographical feature. A path, perhaps. A hill to climb, or even just an unruly bird to keep you company.

But there's nothing there.

Just you and the blank page and the hope that some quintessential part of you remembers what to do.

Cross posted at Quirk and Quill

Friday, September 7, 2012

Summer Vacation

Where I Went on My Summer Vacation
  • Lost River Gorge
  • Polar Caves
  • Fuller Rose Gardens
  • Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Competition
  • York Beach
  • One Stop Fun
  • Rumble Tumble
  • Galway Lake, NY
  • Charmingfare Farm
  • Freedom Trail, Boston
  • Christa McAuliffe Planetarium
  • Whale watch
  • Fort Foster, ME
  • The Butterfly Place
  • Darien Lake, NY
  • East Aurora, NY
  • Letchworth State Park
  • Genesee Country Museum
  • Jello Museum
  • SEE Science Center
  • Hershey, PA
  • Butternut Farm
Things I Did on My Summer Vacation:
  • Spelunking
  • Climbed a rock wall
  • Had my face painted in melted chocolate
  • Rode a Ferris wheel
  • Bought a brain jello mold
  • Jumped waves
  • Saw a sunspot AND a solar flare from a telescope
  • Was a human landing pad for butterflies
  • Climbed 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument
  • Finished a manuscript
  • Saw hump-backed whales
  • Ran with zucchinis
  • Fed goats
  • Did a full wheel in yoga
  • Listened to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, The Star-Spangled Banner, and Pomp and Circumstance on the piano about a billion times
  • And last but not least, chased a chipmunk and a snake off my porch, but not simultaneously.