My Grandparents' Farmhouse, Guyanoga, NY

The farmhouse; Lunch is ready; Lynn, Tom, Chief; North kitchen window

“Purity. Serenity. Simplicity. Seclusion. All one’s concentration and flamboyance and originality reserved for the grueling, exalted, transcendent calling. I looked around and thought, This is how I will live."

John Knowles


My grandparents' 1849 Greek Revival farmhouse sits on the hill in Guyanoga, NY, which is just a country crossroads with a few houses and the Valley Inn, home to the best Friday night fish fry around, with a squeeze bottle of tartar sauce right on the table. The farmhouse is full of well-loved antiques and is surrounded by fields and woods. It's the kind of place that sets me back a century, recalls big family meals, good smells, nature, and the autumn deer hunters coming in for lunch, full of stories, ready for hot soup and sandwiches, shucking their hunting clothes and guns on the porch and eating in their long johns. The house is peaceful, solid, beautiful, and cozy. It's the kind of place I could live in forever, with my boots on the porch and the seasons coming and going. My grandfather, Huck, passed in 2003 at 89 and my gran, Peg, passed in 2015 at 98, but the house is still in the family.

Night Sledding

Night sledding and snow fire. 19 degrees, wind pushing from the north, lucent sky, blue-shadowed deep snow hanging on high pine boughs, every limb, mound, and curve of land, soft, clean. Full moon in Leo, signifying releasing and clearing the old and bringing forth our deep gifts. Did a letting go/calling-in fire ceremony with Lauren, Sara, and Anahata. Laughed and shivered and spoke aloud our true wishes for self-expression: writer, daughter, artist, model, food artist, craftswoman. First ever full moon snow fire, once-a-winter North Carolina mountain storm, night elements, magic rising in the chest, alive, drawn.

Sunday Night Feeling


Lauren and I took a sunset walk with the dogs at the Barnard River Access on the French Broad near our house, then came back for more night sledding. Our backyard run had sun-warmed and then cooled again, making for ice-slick speed. The dense snow storm had cleared, stars lit the deepening sky, and the snow sparkled in the street light. We laughed and hooted into the quiet trees. Yet all day i was beset by some unnamed melancholy, a kind of Sunday night feeling. The dreamy snowed-in three day weekend was closing, but it was more than that. Though all is peaceful in my life, and I am well-loved, sometimes I feel time all around me, other times and people, now gone; and others I fear to lose, and long seasons turning, one into the other, this same earth, sky, trees, moon. Snow falling, then melting, flowers blooming and trees leafing, then falling into orange and brown. Sometimes I wish for summer when it's winter, the sticky cloying heat, full green woods, earth scents, farmers' markets, and long bright days. Sometimes I curse summer heat and wish for snow-thick skies, freezing north wind, short dark nights and cozy clothes and pots of soup. I seek to relieve this melancholy, escape this small heavy thing in my heart, then I wonder, do other people feel like this? Is this the pain of being human, aware of mortality, of loss? Why am I not fully present, right here, right now, having fun? Humans have both memory and imagination, allowing us to slide through time in our minds. We have hearts that ache. We are clan beings who easily feel lonely and alone. We seek to mask and relieve these uncomfortable feelings. We employ all manner of techniques to that purpose. Yet in the end, seasons and lifetimes do slide by, and periodically I feel the eternity of that. And maybe that's okay, being human, on a dark winter's mountain night, trudging up the hill in my snow boots, pulling a sled, looking at the stars.