Who knew that  2020 would be a wretched excuse for a year? The climate is collapsing. Half of the U.S. is burning down, another quarter is flooded … and we up here in the northeast are 10 inches low on rain. That is a lot of missing rain. Considering that we all live on wells — there is no “city water” here — we are at the point of fearing lest our wells dry up. Meanwhile, all over the world there is a slow-moving but lethal pandemic. It’s not speedy as the 1918-1919 flu epidemic was. It’s probably not going to kill half a million people, but it’s doing pretty well. Europe is beginning to see a resurgence. The rebound that everyone expected seems to be inching up on us. The U.S. has exceeded 200,000 dead as of today, which is the first day of the Autumnal Equinox. We aren’t into our “second wave” because no one is sure we’ve entirely gotten past our first wave.

The economy is in tatters pretty much everywhere and there has been an international rise of nationalism. Trump is the worst, but Boris Johnson isn’t far behind. Why is it that when the world is at its most fragile, the autocrats and dictators seem to crawl out of every corner. And for even more obscure reason, we (and I don’t mean me or you, but “we” in a far more general sense) seem to accept this as normal. Maybe not initially, but ultimately we get tired of fighting the battle to be free.

Are we free? When was the last time you felt a real sense of freedom? I’m 73 and I’ve been buried under financial, emotional, legal, and child-rearing issues for my entire life. I have cooked every night and am still mostly cooking. I’m worn thin. Yet between my feelings of loss for the world that used to be normal and my very real sense of despair that we are losing the wilds and even our weather, I have weird periods of optimism. Garry says he has this feeling he never loses that ‘something wonderful is going to happen.’ He doesn’t know what it will be, but something.

Today I learned that the prices of houses in this area have gone up by nearly 20% since last year. Why? Because people want to get out of the city, get out of the crowded suburbs. Get out of there little plots of lawn and garage and move to someplace where there’s room between them and their neighbors. In other words, here. It turns out that living in the boonies, which no one wanted 20 years ago is now what everyone wants. Houses just like this one are selling like well, hotcakes. I’ve always wondered where hotcakes are selling so well, but that is a question I’ll never get answered.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Our house in winter

The problem is I don’t want to leave the neighborhood. For all the problems of living in a small town with too little business and far too few facilities, I love the wildness of it. I love fresh corn and the friendly cows and goats and horses. What I really want is the same house I live in, but flat. Without stairs. I’m not sure that this is a viable option, but not having those stairs to haul myself up — and Garry’s getting to the “hauling” stage himself — would make life so much easier for both of us. And I don’t want to lose my woods and my birds and my squirrels. Even though there are many repairs this house needs, it is still saleable now that we’ve installed a new boiler. The other things it needs are basically small, but that was a biggie.

The house today


So for all the terrible things that happen, some little piece of good happens too. It’s not a big thing. Not something ‘wonderful,’ but not bad either. It’s nice to be in the black (not racist, just bookkeeping) for a change. I’m not sure what we will do. My best guess is that we will stay here because we don’t want to leave the area and maybe getting a better chair lift would solve the problem. The idea of moving is terrifying anyway. I remember when we moved here thinking they will have to bury me here because I’m never moving again.

I guess we’ll see if that turns out for be true.

Categories: Blackstone Valley, Gallery, Home, Nature, New England, Photography, Wildlife

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Moving is horrible even if it is a move you want to make. Financially too, by the time you have paid the agent’s commission and the cost of transporting your stuff that is a tidy chunk out of your sale money. If you still ended up with a mortgage I don’t know if you’d be a lot better off unless you found your dream house.
    We have stairs now and they are steeper than I’d like and will be too narrow for a stairlift when the time comes. Luckily we have a ramp outside to reach the upper floor too. This could be a problematic house for us in ten years or so but we love it so we’ll persevere. I certainly don’t want to live in the city again or even in suburbia.
    A residential lift would be great if we could afford it and I think I’d rather do that and stay here even with the transport issues, than move.


    • I dread the idea of moving. For all the reasons you mention. I LOVED the triplex townhouse we had in Boston, but I also knew it would kill me sooner rather than later. THREE flights of stairs with a switchback at each landing? And that’s how we moved here. I swore I’d NEVER move again. i may wind up sticking with that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to kinda side with Garry in that all of this bad stuff has a purpose. If for no other reason than to show us where we’ve erred? A life style wake up, so to speak. We’ve allowed the vermin to enter our homes and now we have to find a competent exterminator. So that being said, maybe we are due for something wonderful to happen “cause it’s bugger all down here in Earth.”


  3. I’d hold fast with both hands to your ‘little piece of heaven’. Having no stairs (as I do) is wonderful, but I pay the price in having neighbors who are too close. Ironically (maybe hypocritically) I also long for a tighter knit ‘community’ where public transportation isn’t a myth and there are actually cabs one could take to go somewhere once one can’t drive (I suspect my time is coming faster than not for that). In the sticks (which is a loose term these days) in Utah means a long damned walk IF one can’t drive and I’ve groused often enough about the fact that I CAN’T walk any more. You are blessed in that you have a son who could, in a pinch, take you where you needed to go. You have all that blessed silence (I’d almost kill to have silence), you have that beautiful scenery and the birds, squirrels and wee chipmunks. You have SPACE. You have GREEN space. Enjoy it. For, if the trend towards wanting ‘to get away from it all’ continues, that will become the stuff of legends too. As it is doing here. Not that we have the same kind of green space of course. Drought don’t scare us out here, it’s how things are SUPPOSED to be, when climate change wasn’t a real thing. In your area, well I can see where that would keep me up nights worrying..


    • It is a beautiful area. The absence of outside noise is nice and the birds chirping in the morning is nice, too. But those stairs are a bit of a killer and there may come a time when I can’t handle them anymore.


  4. Guess we all need to hang onto that feeling that something wonderful is about to happen. Possibly our idea of what’s wonderful just needs to evolve a bit more? I love your photos, as always, Marilyn.


  5. I like your house and the surrounding area because I love nature. I also love my spot in the city but the times, they are a-changing. If I want or have to move in five years, I better start getting rid of things now. I have lived here for 41 years so I have too much stuff.


  6. If lived where you do,Marilyn, I would never leave it. Perhaps you can solve the stairs with a lift and make life easier.
    What species is that charming little light blue bird in your photos?

    Liked by 2 people

    • We will see. I’d rather stay here — if for no better reason than it’s home and it’s comfortable. If it weren’t for the stairs — and all the maintenance we need and can’t afford — I wouldn’t even think of moving.

      Liked by 1 person

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