Beyond the beyond…and beyond…

It’s hard to know where to begin. First off, let me say I had planned on at least one more post before reaching our destination – something along the lines of “Keep on Trekkin’, Baby!” – with humorous stories about our adventures and poodle foibles along the way, through the Great Plains, the Mid-West, Upper State New York and New England.  But it never happened, and somehow we have trekked all the way here. Over 3,400 miles from Fountain Valley.

Being here has been unbelievable, surreal, a dream, beyond the beyond, nirvana, a little slice of heaven –  you fill in the cliché. I wish I could think of a unique way to express it, but I am at a total loss. I knew it would be an amazing experience to be here, but these last two days have completely exceeded my expectations. Saturday Eric and I sat out by the pond in the afternoon sipping a beer, and enjoying the sounds, the smells, the visual beauty of the Cabot woods, and our little clearing, which is now our home. Eric pointed out how wonderful it is to be able to just take in the scents, sights and sounds of nature, rather than someone’s tri-tip roasting (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), the smoggy scent of car exhaust, or cigarette smoke wafting over the block wall.  Not to mention the whish-whish of freeway sounds, the shriek of police sirens, honking horns, barking dogs, neighbors’  parties, kids squealing, jets flying over, etc. City sounds. Right now I am sitting in my lovely little writer’s cabin, listening to the whish of the wind in the trees, and robins and chickadees. There are robins’ nests over the red door of our house, and above my cabin door. The robins are a little spooked by our presence, as they had the place to themselves all spring, but they are getting used to us. I am hoping this little cabin, with it’s long legacy of creative energy, will loosen up my writer’s constipation. (And hopefully what flows out will not follow that metaphor to its end – no pun!)

When I was young and living in New England, I would take drives up the Wilbraham or Hampden mountain with my dog “Bounce,” to sit by streams or in meadows, to just “be.” I guess without my being aware of it, it was a kind of meditation. I needed it in regular doses, and sought it out. Even the drives themselves were relaxing. (There is no such thing as a relaxing drive in LA or Orange County.) Being here now, overwhelms me with how much I have missed this – just sitting on the edge of a pond and watching salamanders, frogs, tadpoles. Eric and I actually discovered a yet unidentified being in the pond. If you just glance, it looks like a tiny stick or piece of reed about two inches long, covered in moss, just drifting to the cadence of the water. But upon further observation, she actually crawled about with some sort of purpose, probably rooting out a meal from of the muck of the pond bottom. Some sort of pond bottom dweller. I named her “Nessie.”

Yesterday morning, for about one and half seconds, I saw my first deer at the Clearing. As I came into the living room to retrieve my phone, I looked out the window and thought, “One of these days I will look out to the pond and see a moose or a deer—” and there she was. I don’t know if I spooked her, or if it was something else she was bounding away from, but she leapt from the pond to the woods’ edge, and disappeared into the trees, in two shakes of a white-tailed deer’s tail.  She was exquisite. I was breathless. Eric was out on his exercise walk, so I only had two poodles with whom to share my excitement. They had been napping at the time, so were not terribly impressed.

Here is what I have relearned in two days: just sitting is key. (I knew this, but forgot how to do it.) Hearing an owl, or a loon, listening to the woods, losing all awareness of time. Last night we sat at the edge of the pond amidst a literal cacophony of peeping frogs, punctuated by the low, rasping call of a bullfrog, here or there. They were completely unfazed by our presence. Their singing seemed to resonate around and through us, as if we were among the notes of the melody.

I have this ridiculous notion that if I stop worrying, stop ruminating, stop contemplating, stop figuring, stop THINKING – and just simply sit, I can stop time altogether. And we can live here forever.



Blogging in the Writer’s Cabin


Come on in…

15 thoughts on “Beyond the beyond…and beyond…

  1. Smiling, laughing , crying. You write so beautifully. Congrats. Hope you feel as enthusiastic come days in winter when it’s 40 below. <3

  2. Very nice post! I see storm clouds through our trees now. I hope they materialize into a rainstorm, our first at the Clearing. Wow!

    Wait! Is it “The Clearing” or “the Clearing?”

  3. Winter-shminter. (Easy to say when it is 70 out.) But don’t forget, Robin, we will be heading back to sunny CA at the end of every January for work, returning in early April. So we will miss a lot of the worst winter weather. Plus, when we are here, we don’t really have to go anywhere if we don’t want to. Can just beef up the coffers and hunker in by the propane stove.

  4. Welcome back to the New England woods…..your word pictures help us all to visualize and experience your newly rediscovered peace. I am so very happy for you, Eric and your doglets. Look forward to someday experiencing it firsthand.

  5. Reading your post, along with viewing your photos – I feel as if I am there with you. The sights, smells, and sounds are so vivid. I am transported and calm…Thank you! Now, back to work…

  6. No beefing up & hunkering allowed in winter…just bundle up, get outside & experience the wonder that U.S. Winter! Ski, snowshoe, walk, bonfires, embrace the season & you will truly enjoy! Although, I’m ready to embrace some warm by January, too!! Still enjoying your perspective!

  7. Keep on writing, Patti! Absolutely love reading your “thoughts and meanderings!” And keep on enjoying the peace and serenity. We, too, are enjoying a similar experience at our campsite in CT — overlooking a “babbling brook” and loving every minute of it. No neighbors in sight, although we can hear a little bit of traffic (we tell ourselves it sounds like the ocean…….NOT………but we can pretend).

  8. Thank you, everyone, for your comets. (Oops. And comments.) Bugs out tonight but we don’t care. (We came in. Ha.)

  9. I enjoyed reading your post very much, although now the sound of the cars driving back and forth just beyond our backyard wall seem to be louder than ever! Thanks. Ha,

  10. All of the things you are describing — being where you can fully experience what is around you, unencumbered by the intrusion of people nearby and all that comes with that — is a significant component of our dream of retiring in Maine this past nearly ten years. I am so happy that you are experiencing such joy — and there will be beauty in every season. I also have no doubt that, in that environment, the writing will just pour out of you. You’ve demonstrated that already.

  11. Dawn – thank you. I can’t wait for you and Michael to have your dream, too. And fingers crossed it will still be in Maine, so we can be New Englanders together again. It would be a very fitting passage in our parallel lives.

  12. Patti,
    I am so happy for the two of you! It looks so beautiful, majestic even. I have always loved reading your writing, usually in the form of your annual Christmas letter. I have been enjoying your blog and your photos. You two look so happy!!! ❤️ Congratulations!

  13. Hey, Stacy! Thank you so much. I hope you and Javier and family can come for a getaway sometime. It’s worth it! (Ticks and all. Ha.)

  14. So much peace to be found just quietly contemplating nature. You have an absolutely gorgeous place to do it.

Leave a Comment