A friend asked me the other day, “If you couldn’t live in New Hampshire, where would you live?” There was no quick, easy answer so I told her I would have to give it some thought. Then I tried to separate the idea of place from time. Did she mean a place, unrelated to the time I had spent there, same place but new life?
So I’m dreaming up a new place, using all the places I have lived. This place would have bees. I love watching the rhythms of their lives. Today I noticed several hovering around the hose and thought, “must be out of water at the hive.” Sure enough their saucer full of rocks was dry. They need the rocks to drink without drowning…
Dogs, cats and horses would populate my landscape, as they do now. That rules out an urban setting; but a high-speed, cheap means of getting to a city would exist. It would be earth-friendly. Trains, we need more trains.
I want streams and ponds, mountains and forests. Though the sea has always been close, it frightens me and if I had to give it up over all else, I would. I would have quiet roads of dirt to walk down and they would be perfectly graded for riding at a fast clip. I would live close enough to sources of groceries and gas that I would only burn through a tank of gas in my truck every three weeks. But not close enough to infringe.
The climate would be warm, with cleansing rains. When my skin became too complacent with the heat, I would have the weather turn magically cold and blizzardy. Like that first night you walk out, and the snow crunching under your boots is the only sound to accompany the clear, star-lit sky. Total solitude.
My place would be peopled with fascinating characters who have lived adventurous lives, even if they’ve never left town. A people who speak many languages. and hold intimate beliefs that challenged my perceptions of life. My family would live close enough to drop in unannounced, but separate in their own lives.
If I could not live in New Hampshire, I would want to live somewhere that embodies where I am and more. Perhaps it isn’t far away, if I open my eyes to it.