Saturday, November 26, 2011

From One Year to the Next

Thanksgiving Snow
After many years of traveling for Thanksgiving, we stay home now.  It feels just right to be here in celebration of the harvest, the woods, the land, and our New Hampshire lives.  The twist for 2011 was a snowstorm the day before Thanksgiving.  Six inches of heavy, wet snow weighed down trees and took the power out for ten hours or so. Our teacher friends were delighted.  Our cooking friends wondered when they could get back to the preparations.  We carried on doing house chores by kerosene lamp.

The next morning, Thanksgiving Day, I took this photograph out the south window.  Then I baked anadama bread and finished canning the rest of the applesauce (16 pints).  I thought about past holidays -- Gram Dorrington's apple pies, big and small family gatherings over 60-plus years, awkward times, unhappy times, old and new traditions, the many warm and loving memories.

I thought about change -- how our landscapes change year by year.  Snow.  Misty, brown woods.  Frost, rain, a pale November sun.

The people change, too.  So many are gone.  Some have left-- geographically and otherwise.  The elders have died and the next generation moves into the places left empty at the table, the kitchen, the heart.

My joy comes when I pack the warm loaves of bread and walk up the road with Barry.  We pass the small graveyard, the huge bull pines, horses, deer track, woods that stretch on either side of us.  The skies are darkening, but the lights shine from Ellen's windows.  We join old and new friends and neighbors at a long table by the open fireplace where we share a feast and fellowship in a brave new world.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Search for the Muse

The Writing Retreat
We are four intrepid writers on a weekend retreat at a local vacation spot near the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  This is our third retreat -- with more to come, we know.  We're encouraged by the freedom to write and the fearless stroke of pen on paper, fingers on keys.  There's a quiet, meditative quality in the room, broken by laughter, awe and appreciation when one of us reads what has appeared on the page.

Who knew the Muse sits among us, opening portals to heart and mind, singing us to write among our friends and colleagues!  No more solitary desk in the pristine setting -- we write amidst scraps of papers, books, words cut from magazines and pictures culled from everywhere.  We sit.  We write.  We share.  We have a respectful audience.   We have just what we need.