KNOWING WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T KNOW – INTUITION AND VISIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #73


It’s time for a little creative thinking. Here’s the setup from Fandango:

You’ve heard of extra sensory perception, right? You know, ESP. There are three forms of ESP.

  1. Telepathy — the transfer of information from one person to another without the use of sensory communication.
  2. Clairvoyance — the acquisition of information about places, people, or events without the use of normal sensory contact.
  3. Precognition — the acquisition of information about a future event that could not be anticipated through any known processes of inference.

So my question to you this week is:


Having had several significant run-ins with things that aren’t supposed to happen, none of which are described in Fandango’s lead up. Because there’s also voices you hear that are from “somewhere else” — not someone else living in your head but messages from … where? 

Twice I was dying. The first time, I was offered the option of dying or continuing to live, even though living would be hard and painful. The second time, I was told that I was going to live, even though no one thought I could since I’d been dying for days with all the appropriate symptoms: massive sepsis, fever, and multiple surgeries all of which were supposed to repair me, but didn’t. But having been told I would live, the next morning, I was fine. Fever and infection gone and I went home that  same day.

That doesn’t happen. It really doesn’t. I have never been sure what to make of both of these incidents and a number of others which probably fall into the “precognition” grouping. I knew, for example, when my first husband died, even though I was 300 miles away. I just knew. And check around. Many people who are not religious in any way have had such experiences.

I woke up one morning knowing that a helicopter had exploded and there had been a crash in New Hampshire. About an hour later, the phone rang and Garry was on the case. How did I hear that news and more to the point, why? I didn’t know the pilot, the helicopter, or anything about it at all. For some obscure reason, the story came to me. The knowledge that someone I had loved had died made some kind of sense. There was a connection there and it happens to a lot of people.

But both of those visions gave me a life I was sure was ending. These were not dreams. Dreams float away when morning breaks. These are as alive and as sharp today as they were when they happened.

What — if anything — does this have to do with religion? I do not know. I’m not sure it has anything to do with an “official” dogma.

As to the picking up of subtle signals? Absolutely. It’s why, when I “read” for someone, I preferred to do the original assessment and reading without having met the individual. I didn’t want to be influenced by what I saw or felt. I also quit reading for people. I kept finding out stuff I didn’t want (or need) to know.

I think we are all intuitive. Some of us are more open to knowledge that isn’t written or broadcast? Dogs and cats are intuitive with their owners and each other. Why would we not be? Before there were words, I’m sure we knew about each other. I suspect that creating words was how we lost a lot of the intuition with which we were born.

Non-verbal creatures communicate surprisingly well. Watch them with each other. Put out birdseed and watch one bird make a single tweet that will tell every other feathered pal in the woods to come and get it. Ditto squirrels, flying and otherwise. They just know. .

Sometimes, I know, too.  I don’t know why or how, but I happens.

Finally, the morning of 9/11, one of my bosses had booked a flight out of Kennedy to LA. About an hour before he was due to go to the airport, he got a funny mental itch. He said: “I think I’m not getting on that plane. I’ll travel tomorrow maybe,” He canceled the flight and went on living because that was one of the two planes that hit the towers.

You are welcome to be as dismissive as you like, but stuff happens and you don’t always know why. You can’t box things up according to a predetermined set of rules. There are times when you gotta go with the flow, wherever it takes you.

HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL? ARE YOU AN ADULT YET? – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #71

From Fandango:

“You’re probably familiar with the old expression, “You’re only as old as you feel.” Or maybe you’ve been told by someone at some point to “act your age.” Or perhaps you, yourself, when asked your age, have said, “Age is just a number.”

Well, that brings me to this week’s provocative question(s).”

Right now, I feel like at least 112, going on 150. Some days, I feel as young as 90.

Really, I’m 73 and this part is all about my body. I’ve had cancer twice and lost both breasts. I had ulcers and lost my stomach. Twice. I had my spine fused when I was 19 and since then, my S-1 (that’s the very bottom of your vertebrae on which the rest of your vertebrae purportedly rest) broke. The L3-4-5 vertebrae were fused and while the fusions are functional, they aren’t sturdy.

My DIL asked me what I was going to do about it. I had no answer. There isn’t anything to do. I’ve already had surgery. No quality surgeon will go near it. The entire spine, top to bottom is calcified. I’m not happy about the further breakage at the base because it has further limited movement.

I took Melanie’s advice and got a cane. It’s unnecessary in the house, but I think it might be useful outside, especially on uneven ground. Buying it was my version of optimism since we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’m hoping it will keep me from falling but given my ability to entangle myself in things, it might make it worse. I guess I’ll (eventually) find out.

But that’s all physical stuff. My brain is a whole different department. Aside from forgetting every third word in a given sentence, I’m pretty sharp. Under any other circumstances — like living in a nation with a proper government — I would say my brain hasn’t passed 40 yet, but since Trumpy-Door took office, I feel a lot older. I feel mentally tired like I’ve run a marathon only to discover that I’ve got another to run.

This isn’t going to be a relaxed retirement. This isn’t going to be chilling out into old age, enjoying the little things and each other. Financial stressors, worries about Garry as his age begins to slow him down. And wondering how my son will manage as he ages.

I’m confused, too. I thought we’d begun to make progress as I was going from child to woman and from woman to crone.


The Ancient Crone

by Anya Silverman – “The Crones Counsel, Celebrating Wise Women”:

ancient-croneThe mythological Crone comes to us from the mists of ancient times in the part of the world we now know as the Middle East, Greece, and the Balkans. Many people now believe that in the Paleolithic era (c.30,000 – 10,000 BCE) the goddess was revered as one all-encompassing mother goddess who controlled birth, death, and rebirth. As patriarchy began to arise after c.7000 BCE, this concept began to change as women themselves became increasingly under the dominion of men. The one mother goddess image was split into three aspects reflecting the stages of women’s lives – maiden, mother, and crone. The crone goddess represented the older woman aspect of a woman’s life.”


GROWING UP

When I was in my 20s, we had friends who were in their fifties. I asked them how — and when — they knew they had grown up. They said they would let me know when they figured it out.

I don’t know when it happened, but sometime during the past 20 years, I grew up. I am adulterated.

What age am I? Old, cynical, skeptical, and sad. A crone with a negative attitude and just a hint of optimism, safely stored in a closet.

THERE’S ALWAYS MORE GROWTH AHEAD

I’m not done, butI’m slowing down. It’s hard to move, difficult to get up in the morning. or fall asleep at night. I’d love to be around long enough to see the world moving forward and fixing the things wrong with it, but I don’t know that I have enough time. This isn’t going to be an overnight fix.

There is so much that needs to be done. I would like to be a part of it.

ARE YOU A SUPERHERO? – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #69

So this is what Fandango had to say:

There’s a lot of heavy shit that is going on these days, so I thought I’d go with something lightweight this week. A softball provocative question. Something you might have some fun with.

I came up with this week’s question after Marilyn Armstrong asked this question in one of her recent posts.“Have you watched any superhero movies? Don’t you wish we had some real ones?”

My question this week is a variation on Marilyn’s. My question is:

I think I’m running low on super anything this week. I do some stuff well. I’m pretty good at writing, taking pictures, and organizing life as we used to know it. The problem is that all the things I used to do seem to be off the boards and I don’t know if they will ever come back.

That’s why I wanted a superhero invented by superhero master inventors. I want the Green Lantern and his buddies to fly down and save our planet from the evil madman who is destroying it and us.

What CAN I do, other than vote? I can write when I feel I have something to say that no one else has said a thousand times before. I don’t know how we are going to get even the simplest things done, but I suppose I’ll figure them out.

Maybe that is my super-power. Somehow, someway, I figure it out, whatever it is. I figure out things I don’t know anything about, never studied. I’m a good student. When I want to know something, if there’s any way to find out about it, I’ll do it. And I’ll keep hunting down the information until I know everything I can find.

So around here, when someone can’t figure out something, they ask me. But if it needs height or strength or mechanical ability, it’s definitely my son. If it has anything to do with movies, that’s absolutely a Garry. Also, all news and current events that have occurred during the past 55 years.

That being said, I really want the Green Lantern and his crew. Maybe they’d find a way to fix everything. What worries me is that I’m not sure there is anyone anywhere who can fix what’s wrong with the world in 2020.

PROVOCATIVE QUESTION #68 – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #68

What Fandango had to say about this:

“As I write this, the United States has had more than 1.23 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 72,000 deaths. According to the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), by early August, the American death toll is likely to exceed 134,000. And that’s a conservative projection.”

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“Yet despite these very disturbing projections, many states are “opening back up for business,” even though most medical professionals and scientists have noted that the case and death rate will likely shoot up as a result.

This seems to be fine with our president, who is encouraging states and businesses to reopen. Trump admitted that it is “possible” that many more Americans will die as stay-at-home orders are lifted. He told reporters that some people would be affected badly, “but we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.”

And even though the rate of infection shows no sign of slowing, Vice President Pence told reporters yesterday that the federal government’s coronavirus task force could be dismantled in the next month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.”

The question is:

I think Fandango answered his own question. The reality is, except for those crazies who follow Trump, most people aren’t going anywhere if they have a choice. Especially people our age. We weren’t all that sociable anyway and if the weather gets livable, I’m sure we’ll take little sojourns to parks where we can take pictures without interacting with others.

More than 28 states are not only failing to level but are in fact exploding with COVID 19. Republicans thought the virus wouldn’t cross into their states, that this was somehow a Democratic disease.

Viruses are about as apolitical as anything could possibly be. It isn’t alive and has no brain. Nature gave it just one function:


Multiply.


That’s it. It will keep multiplying until enough people are resistant to it, dead, or there’s a viable vaccine. Of course, if they keep the vaccine the same way they have managed testing, it could take a decade to get everyone vaccinated. Or longer. But by then, I figure we can assume Trump will have gone away. Far, far away.

Soon Fox viewers will believe that there wasn’t really a pandemic. It was a hoax. Trump has said he will hide the numbers so we don’t know how many people are dead. Does that mean people will fail to notice the people who’ve gone missing? No more grandpa or grandma. Where are the aunts and uncles? And why are all the businesses on Main Street closed?

Even the stupidest of the stupid are not going to be convinced that “nothing happened.” They may be confused about the details, but something definitely, absolutely, 100% happened. Whether it is going to happen to you is an issue with which each of us must grapple.

As for me, I’m going to be very careful and wary with where I go and with whom I interact.

SHIP’S AHOY? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Ship

What could I do with this that doesn’t require I start writing? Oh, I know. How about pictures of ships. I have a fair number of them.

I tend to love anything on the water. in, or near water. I love watching the tide and breakers. I used to love swimming. I was never exactly an Olympic swimmer, but I could do a sidestroke forever and I don’t even know how long I can tread water.

Lines and sheets and ropes and sails on one of the original Tea party ships on Boston’s wharf

The purple and pink side of the sunset sky

Fishing boats in Gloucester

BUT THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT, CAN IT? – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #58

To put it most simply, I always thought that — socio and psychopaths aside — everyone has a conscience. Even after Trump was elected, I thought that Americans weren’t stupid enough to actually follow this moron.

I was wrong.

All the cynicism I decried in my mother has settled on me. Apparently many people don’t have even a shred of conscience. Those that might have a conscience are prepared to ignore it in the name of promulgating their personal agendas. It’s embarrassing. I feel I should apologize for being American, even though I didn’t vote for the guy and never would.

Can we regrow a backbone? Film at eleven.

STONES AND GLASS HOUSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #16


PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES
SHOULD NOT THROW STONES.


For years, Garry had a thing about westerns. “Why,” he asked, “Do they always break the windows? Don’t they realize how expensive reglazing is? Can’t they just open the window?”

A friend from Texas felt it was the drama of the breaking glass. “Shattering glass gets the audience’s attention,” he said. It certainly always got mine.

I have never lived in a glass-house, but I have lived in houses that contained a lot of glass. I admit I was very careful about throwing things — and not just rocks. Pottery, books, old dysfunctional cell phones, blocks, tools — anything hard was a no-no. Especially when it came to really BIG windows, you can easily spend a month’s salary getting someone out to your place just to give an estimate much less repair the damage!

So should I ever be unlucky enough to live in a glass house — which I would rather not do since it would require I always be dressed and make would make showering treacherous, I would definitely hold back on any casual stone-throwing. Unless I was making a movie. Then I’d fling stones to my heart content.

Because we want the viewers to feel more involved!

THE MOUTHS OF GIFT HORSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #15


Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!


If someone is giving me a horse, I promise to only check to see if he or she need massive dental work. I’m already having that problem with Bonnie and the money involved is insane. It’s more expensive than having work done in Garry or my mouth! I can only shiver with fear about HOW expensive it would be to have a horse’s teeth done.

My experience with gift horses, in the more symbolic sense, is if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true. When a company, an individual (who isn’t family or friend) is offering you stuff for free, there’s a catch. These days, we assume it’s a scammer or hacker trying to get at your personal data so he/she/they can pawn it off on the darknet or wherever they offer it.

But even if it’s a job offer that sounds way too good to be true, take it all with a dash of salt. The perfect job is rarely perfect. All my perfect jobs have turned out to be perfect when they sounded perfectly normal on the surface and only later did I realize I had somehow managed to get a fantastic boss and the world’s best co-workers. It was never in the job description. All job descriptions sound perfect — or nearly perfect. The reality is usually depressingly unlike the description.

In short, be sensible. Keep your hopes in check until you know how the land lies. Assume that if it isn’t written in the contract, it’s mostly hot air. If you turn out to be lucky and everything is amazing and wonderful, then leap for joy and smile every day that you can continue to work there.

Rarely are the things you dream about gotten free. Even if the potential is there,  you still need to put in your hours, sometimes, years to get from pretty good to great. There’s nothing wrong with optimism, but don’t confuse it with a phone call out of the blue or a headhunter who says “this job is the best ever.” Maybe it is or will be — but maybe not.

AN ALLEGORY OF LIFE AND MORAL BREAKDOWN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Allegory


I decided this morning that if our government doesn’t feel they need to obey laws, why should we? They have declared us as a non-government. They have no laws by which they need to abide, so why are we bothering?

Allegorical equality

Our president, good old mentally defective #45 doesn’t feel he owes us, the voters and citizens of this country, anything at all. Putting aside for the moment his obvious mental illness, stupidity, bigotry, viciousness, cruelty, and mean-spiritedness — he is a big bag of air, an empty nothingness.

Allegory of hatred and bigotry – By: Aleix-Pons

Allegorically speaking, we don’t have a government. If our purported leader can do anything he wants, why can’t we? Why can’t we all do whatever we want, whenever we feel like it? We do we have to work? Or pay taxes? Why do we have to obey traffic laws? We can all carry guns and when we need something, we can just shove the gun in someone’s face and demand it. That’s what the prez does and I think he has set us a fine example of what the world he believes in.

If just one of us stops obeying laws, we’ll get busted.  But what if ALL of us — the entire body politic —  stopped obeying not one, but ALL laws? Stopped obeying even the most basic rules of common sense and civility? What if we all refused to send our children to school? Refused to stop for red lights and parked anywhere we felt like parking? We can all carry big guns so when we ran out of money or anything else, we can hold up the nearest store or bank. We’ll just take what we need, grab what we want, and when they try to arrest us, say “screw you” and shoot our way out.

Allegory of the Cave – Plato

They couldn’t catch all of us. After a while, I’m pretty sure they’d give up trying and take to chaos too. I bet the previous so-called police would be the best law-breakers of them all. They’ve got the training to do evil way better than me. Just wait until the military goes wild.

Do I really think this is a good idea? No. But that’s the example being set for us, so after a while, we have to begin to wonder “why not?” The wild west wasn’t nearly as wild as we could make today’s America.

So if you feel chaos and law-breaking is a good idea for Those People, it should be good for us too. That’s what allegory is all about, isn’t it? Or is that metaphor? So hard to be sure.

OFF ON A TANGENT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Tangent

The tangent is a line that touches a curve or curved surface at a point, but if extended does not cross it. It’s also the line between the two arms of an equilateral triangle. How it came to also mean in common speech a completely different line of thought or action., or as we like to say, “a digression,” no one knows. I’m pretty sure most people have no idea what the word originally meant unless they are in fifth grade and learning the rudiments of geometry. I actually did very well in geometry — the only math course that didn’t lose me the first day in class. At least I could see what you might use it for. It was very useful when I was trying to measure the floor of my tepee.

A digression or tangent coming right up.

Tepees look round, but are more “egg-shaped.” It has to do with the positioning of poles. This is a bit of a measurement conundrum, so you have to visualize in segments and measure each, then add them together. You have to put a tepee on a deep layer of gravel to encourage drainage, but gravel is not comfortable. So one puts layers of coverings inside until it’s soft and cozy. I used an indoor-outdoor rug at the base and that piece needed to fit the tepee closely.

That is when everything I’d learned in geometry got used for the one and only time in my life, not counting sailing and figuring out how to configure the sail to the wind. One wet finger didn’t do it for me (second digression). Geometry let me figure out how big a rug I’d need before trimming. If you have enough money, you can buy all of this stuff, but we were shoe-stringing the project. Other than the canvas and instructions, it was a project of (for us) epic proportions.

More tepee construction

In a bigger tepee, (I would have liked a big one and could have gotten a huge one for free if I could acquire the poles), poles are not easy to come by. Buying them was not expensive, but trucking them across the U.S. from Washington to Massachusetts cost more than the entire project times five. Maybe more.

We don’t live in an area of lodge-pole pines. Our trees, while sturdy, are all whorls, kinks, and miscellaneous lumps. You don’t know how truly crooked a sapling is until you try to turn it into a lodge-pole. Moreover, for obvious reasons, the bigger the tepee, the bigger the poles need to be — and you also need a lot more poles. It was difficult enough finding 18 poles for a small tepee. 27 poles of twice the height? Not likely.

We never had a properly smooth tepee because oak and sassafras won’t produce straight poles, no matter how much you trim them. They stay lumpy. Moreover, we have no flat land and it turns out, you can’t build a tepee that is going to stand more than overnight without a flat piece of ground under it. If it’s a temporary overnight construction (say something to stay in while you’re hunting), you can slapdash it together, but if you want to live in it, flat ground is a mandate.

Thus we had to create a flat piece of ground. We built what (had it been surrounded on three sides with water), a peninsula of land poking into the woods off the back west corner of the yard. That’s where our land drops off from sloping and dives down about eight feet, then slopes for another few hundred feet, after which it drops off another dozen feet. After which there is a flat area.

But we could not get there on foot without felling a dozen or more big red oaks and bringing in a plow to create a path. Even inside the flat area, there was a mighty oak in its center which would have caused construction issues.

Owen designed our spit of land. Our construction crew — Owen and Garry — determined that a 12-foot teepee was about as much as they could manage. Owen designed it with old railroad ties (from an old railroad … there were a lot of them and those ties are as close to eternal as any wood product could be) as the walls. The guys then filled it with dirt and sand. It was then covered with a dump-truck full of gravel, all of which had to be hauled down one wheelbarrow at a time from the top of the driveway to the edge of the woods.

Owen and Garry grew very muscular that summer.

All of this was followed by painting (my job). I had grand plans but eventually settled on painting the door flap, with an exterior of a buffalo headdress and an interior that was all our hand-prints. I copied the design from pictures. It came out better than I expected.

From the rear of the teepee, the day is ending in mid Autumn.

I would have liked to paint the whole thing, but once it was up, it stood more than 18 feet high I designed an interior cover for insulation. By this point, I was on my own, but it was fun. I also built a fire pit and learned to get the fire blazing in under three minutes. When it’s mid-winter in New England, getting that fire roaring fast is important because after that, your hands are frozen and you can’t manage the matches. The fire was big for the 12-foot tepee but it was super cozy.

The tepee was completed and dedicated in October. For five years afterward, we had the coldest, snowiest winters anyone remembered. Many evenings I spent with a blazing fire, sitting by the open flap because the tepee sometimes (often) got a bit sauna-like Sitting in the doorway watching the snowfall with the fire behind me was everything for which I had hoped.

The tepee stood for six years, all year round, after which it came down because the poles began to rot. Also, a bobcat had moved in and had a litter of kittens there. She did not want to leave. Still, it was a great five years, pre-bobcat.

So now, you’ve gotten the tangent as geometry plus a tangent as a digression. In one post! And welcome to the tepee.

TOTALLY UNHINGED – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Unhinged


I’m voting for Yang. Even if he isn’t the nominee, he’s my guy. Anyone who’ll give me magic mushrooms and enough money to live on? My man!

The laughing Flamingo?

Does everyone feel as if they fell into the rabbit hole and that last mushroom made them huge — or tiny. My plastic flamingo is running around the garden laughing at me. I need to drink something that will make me … real.

Because I too am unhinged!

FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s – Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Definitely follow the road, but be sure whoever is leading your march isn’t some crazy orange guy with a very bad attitude.

Remember, those bricks weren’t always yellow!

EVERY DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Daily

There was a time … and not very long ago at that … when daily meant normal. Things that occurred on a daily basis were normal and we didn’t need to pay a lot of attention to them. These days, it’s a new crisis every day. Not a little crisis either. Major crises, Nearly end of the world crises. Stress and high blood pressure are the words of the year. Years. No matter how frightening yesterday was, we count on tomorrow being just as bad or worse.

The world

It used to be as you got older, mostly you complained about the music the kids were playing. These days, we wonder if we are going to have a world to live in. Is it going to blow up? Drown as the ice melts? Will there be any birds or lions or elephants left?We are moving from a natural world into a world so highly mechanized that I barely understand it. Maybe I don’t want to recognize it.

The silly daily dilly-dally of the earlier years has turned into the terror of nuclear war and loss of our entire democracy. For once, being old isn’t so bad. We won’t need to see it all happen. At least that’s a good thing, right?

STAIRS AND STEPS- Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Stairs

When we bought this house — 19 years ago — I figured there were only 12 stairs from the front door: six up and six down. We were moving from a three-story triplex in Boston, so a mere 12 steps didn’t seem like much. I could not imagine a time when I wouldn’t be able to climb six steps — or in a pinch, twelve with a landing int he middle.

Wooden steps from the deck to the backyard

Who knew? I have a stairlift for the top six, from the middle landing to where we live, bu the other six? “Haul away, men. She’s on her way.”

Garry now has to haul himself up by the handrail.

Scotties on the upper six stairs

Stairway to the river by the Mumford Dam

The problem is, I guess, that this is a hilly region, There are no flat areas and what few there are, are occupied by farms. That’s where our local fresh corn comes from. And the local grapes, cucumbers, and other produce.  Mostly these days, we seem to be breeding horses — saddle horses and huge Clydesdales and Percherons. Do we have any particular use for these gigantic (and beautiful) horses? No, not really, but they are glorious animals.

Four Clydesdales hooked to a dressy rig is a great entrance for a couple getting married., The saddle horses are owned by academies. If these places have flat areas, these are used as a ring for training riders and horses. Most places bring in bulldozers to flatten sections.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

We had to bring in a bulldozer to flatten our backyard. You can ask a lot more for houses if by some quirk it happens to be on flat ground at the top of a hill so water runs down and away from it.

We are in the middle of the hill. A long slide down the driveway from the road is our personal Bunny Slope. Thus our backyard is flat, but still needs a canal of its own so the water that collects at the base of the driveway can roll down to the woods.

From the read of the back lawn, there is a precipitous drop through some impressive boulders to a flat area at the bottom, after which the land rises again. Since the entire area is networked by bodies of water — rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and canals initially used by factories and spinning mills to move goods to the main canal or ultimately, the railroad.

The long drop from the Worcester hill into the hill-and-dale of the watershed means almost no houses can be build on flat land. Newer houses — like ours — are either split levels or Georgian-style brick buildings built into the hills. Like a split level before there were split levels.

Pretty much every house has stairs. The parks have long stairways because that’s what you can do on these rolling hills. This house is a raised ranch. The lower level has one area that is a real basement. The rest of the level includes a den with a fireplace, a big bedroom. a tiny bedroom now used as a closet, another unheated room for storage,  plus a bathroom with a shower, toilet, sink, and the washer, and dryer. What remains of the original garage is a work area.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

We find ourselves going up and down often. We store extra food on the shelves downstairs. A lot of items that come and go in the house — little table, pictures, wrapping paper, winter coats in the summer, summer clothing in the winter. The attic was never finished. It doesn’t have a complete floor and is full of loose fiberglass for insulation. We don’t go there since its pull-down wooden stairs feel dangerously creaky.

Take a walk along the banks of the Blackstone

Yet, when we moved in, I hopped up and down the stairs like they were nothing. I didn’t even mind the three-story townhouse in Boston, though I could tell a time would come when I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. By then we also had two dogs and a cat and I wanted a yard for the dogs. With a fence.

Just 12 steps, but sometimes, they feel like so many more.