Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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The morning watch

He sits behind the screen,
the sun’s minute hand
remaps his curves in warmth.
With not much else to do
his morning’s work is
out there, living traffic
he will watch and note.
Force marched ants in
single file, small brown toads,
leaf rustles out of sight,
the swooping zizz
of dragonflies.
A hummingbird returns
to drink, then preen. This
makes him smile. Even they
must stop and rest.
The small world quiets, starts to
wait for shade, when high sun
moves away, raptors drafting
on its currents. He sees
and understands. Feeling
stiff he’s up to find another
patch of sun. A whoofing sigh,
then head on paws he sleeps.

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night lit

my woods are hung
with lamp lit moonlight
shallow beaver wash
turned into opal pools
picked out by
beams that launched
diffused through
vapor rings we know
are ice but touch
us softly

__________________________
Day 22. We have just had a full moon, fitting for the week of Earth Day.


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getting here from there

On my way home the penny dropped. It was one of those early fall days with a vivid blue sky, the kind that surrounds me with color and sensation, my brain revving up from the joy of it all.

Passing Fitzwilliam Road, glancing at the road sign, I thought no kidding, really? Let’s see now. Driving home, our road is Mountain Road and I’m headed toward Mt. Monadnock. Coming up from Troy, Monadnock Street ends at Mountain Road with a perfect view of the mountain behind our house.

Hmmm, folks from Marlborough call our road Jaffrey Road, because of course, that’s how you get to Jaffrey from there.

And that was it. I was in. I had hacked the country road code. Road signs mean what they say around here, for the most part, anyway.

There is, I’ll admit, a Road Number Four which meanders from Route 12 past a beautiful marsh, woods with streams, some interesting old houses and a farm stand before ending at Templeton Turnpike. So, not all the time.

Chalk that one up to a misguided flatlander. Which I’m not anymore. At least not a flatlander, and I’m fairly certain about the other.

Living up here has been a heart’s wish for a long time. It is obvious to me now that I followed the right signs, one at a time, to end up at the foot of this mountain.

Back in 2005, the one thing I was certain of was the need to leave the city, the house we were in, the life we led, to a simpler place, to be near family. My husband Mike was not well, was not going to get better, so we migrated north.

It was wonderful for both of us to be closer to nature, in a town where offseason rush hours emptied the streets by 6. Better, but I never felt truly at home. It just wasn’t simple enough, wild enough, but I’d accomplished what I set out to do with the move. It was okay.

Fourteen months later life took a drastic turn, when Mike died very suddenly and unexpectedly. He had been sick a long time, and the man I knew had been gone a long time as well, taken by the effects of Parkinson’s and dementia. The long goodbye on a road with no signs.

By the second month anniversary of his death I saw quite clearly that I could either fall apart on the 19th of each month, or use it as a celebration of what was positive in my life, a mile marker of achievement, something to applaud.

So I did just that, each month celebrating the milestones, letting Mike know, as I touched the sign on the memorial bench outside our community center. Hey, Mike, guess what?

And so it went, mile marker by mile marker, to dating for the first time in almost 40 years, online no less. Meeting the man I would marry four years later, moving to New Hampshire in 2009.

Living first in a charming old school house in Peterborough, nice enough but it was temporary. Aggie, our Newfie puppy, came along.

The next spring we found and bought a wonderful old house, built in 1796, next to an iconic pond with the mountain right behind it. The woods full of owls, deer, coyotes, birds, smaller creatures.

A year ago, after much searching, the road led to Horace, my dream lab pup. He is my joy and Aggie’s boon companion.

So here we all are. At the intersection of two roads leading to the mountain. And that’s how I got here, by reading the signs.