It’s a strange, reflective morning. The sun is strong, as is the breeze, but I can’t seem to find a warm spot. My housemates lie stretched out on the warm boards of the back deck, yet I wander from room to deck to room, shivering in my fleece shirt. Finally, I climb the metal stairs to my office. It is the warmest place I can find with its welcoming wall of glass. To the right of my computer screen, just beyond the tree with the thermometer that defies my chill, is the woodpecker’s home. The pair is arguing, creeping up and down the bark and popping in and out of the tidy doorway.
Routines are changing and relationships make subtle adjustments. My work schedule means less time alone, less time in this space observing the life I am fortunate enough to continue to support. Friends, who shared my hours of riding, photo touring, or kayaking between my solitary hours of writing, are settling into different parts of the new routine. The wildlife doesn’t seem to notice.
A story is being told. I love weaving the cast and characters, I’m surprised by the turns it takes. The other day, a woman asked if I was from Peterborough. “Yes, from past. I’ve only returned in the last ten years. Do you remember that house that sat at the corner of Routes 101 and 202? It became a real estate company? My Great Grandfather built that house, my Grandfather and Mom grew up there.” Is stealing some of the story from my ancestors cheating? I’ve met others recently, my age, who have returned to the places of their childhoods; summers spent on the lakes and farms in this mountainous region.
It’s a common question among strangers, “Are you from the area?” It beckons the person to offer a bit of personal information, open the door to finding commonalities. How different from times in my life when the question was broader, “Where are you from in America?” and the most clarifying answer I could give was “the northeast, near Boston and New York.”
As these changes become routine I will remind myself, the only constant is change. Some will bring heart-ache, others great joy. They will be born from past shifts and will color the future. The only way I know to truly perceive the changes without fear is to write it all down…