This is the third installment in the “What Alice and I Did On Our Summer Vacation” essay. You can find Arriving here and Being here. Thank your for traveling along.



Day Four

The morning dawned gray and cooler; a break from the humid week of summer’s last blast. Ducks winged in, circling the pond, landing to fish and socialize. Our last day before this becomes a memory.

Alice snuffles, snorts and farts her way down the road on our morning walk. She inspects something, dips her derrière to mark it, then stands and kicks dirt over the spot. I don’t pretend understand the ritual but it must be important. Our neighbors are never out when we walk. There also are no other dogs though Alice seems to find evidence of their presence.

The day is going to remain overcast and cool. We load up and head to Keene to visit Hanni at her store and pick up dog food. A furry hedgehog toy also finds its way into the car. Racing home against the rain, I picture the perfect toasted BLT sandwich with my leftover heirloom tomato and smoked mozzarella.


I could leave, head back to my house and pick up the threads of daily life. Packing up the outside stuff takes no time and I am done before the first drops of rain ripple the surface of the pond. This time the kayak goes easily up atop the car. I feel accomplished and strong as I position and tighten the straps. But I don’t leave. I sit in the window and watch a duck slide by, admonishing myself for almost giving up the last of this time set aside for me. The view will never again be what I see right now. Best to stay and savor it a while longer. Sharpen your focus…



We retire early to the now familiar bed as the last light leaves the sky. An owl calls across the pond as I settle around Alice and look out at the bright stars.

And now, all can go back to as it was before Alice and I arrived. This place absorbed our presence,  giving back rest and renewal. Narrow your focus…


15 thoughts on “Leaving…

  1. I’m so glad you had a peaceful and relaxing time away. You definitely deserved it. With any luck, you were able to bring some of the feeling home with you to savor some evening in front of your fireplace. And narrow your focus is great advice for us all. Thank you.

  2. I like the blue picture – can just imagine the duck sliding by. Breath it all in and a corner of your mid will store it for a later release.
    I is so difficult to just be in there – something about humans keeps up preparing/doing for what’s next. Not enough hammocks or waterfront places these days.
    (And someday maybe the pups will let us in on that kicking ritual. They do seem to take it very seriously like it’s a mandate…)

  3. We leave for Door County one week from today and I eagerly await an opportunity, such as you just experienced, to get away, to relax, to uncoil, to BE.

    Are you writing a new book, then, Martha? I look forward to reading it. You are my unwitting cheerleader and I draw inspiration from your writing. My mind seemingly has ‘used up’ what I at first presumed to be a virtual plethora of ideas from which to write although at times, words and thoughts fly, unbidden, into my consciousness. Perhaps I just need some downtown to coax them out again. 🙂

    Anyway, nicely down. I hope you – and Alice! – return home recharged and reinvigorated.

  4. Martha, I am always ALWAYS drawn to your writing. There is a twinning of lifestyles and surroundings that appeal. Reading your entries takes me down a path to look even more deeply into my daily rituals and hourly pursuits. It encourages me to look through your lens–one that I am drawn to like a magnet.
    Happy autumn to you and Alice.

  5. I just read your 3 posts and thoroughly enjoyed every word. Removing yourself from the norm is therapeutic but only, as you so eloquently described it, after you have re-adjusted to your new surroundings. I hope you were able to narrow and sharpen your focus! So important to escape and recharge, well done!

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