Greetings from beautiful New England!
Let me tell you how I am loving it up here! The towns are historic and quaint, the buildings stunning and old, and the landscape breathtaking and majestic! As we enter into this time of celebration of our independence from England, I am in the birthplace of this nation and seeing some of the first houses ever built here and buildings from which the Declaration of Independence was read. My zip code starts with a zero….how neat is that! North Carolina was a two, Wisconsin a five, and Oregon a nine. I’m moving back in time!
And what’s with all the Dunkin Donuts up here? I’ve seen the commercials: “America runs on Dunkin!” but never really understood them before until now. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest and living in other corners of the country I’ve maybe only seen 3 Dunkin Donut stores, all super tiny in these run down buildings. I couldn’t imagine that they were all that successful and certainly would never consider them as fuel for America. That was Starbucks where I came from. I mean, about 2 Starbucks per city block in Portland, OR? Yes, I know, ridiculous! But no, you come up here and these Dunkin stores are a sight to behold! Excellent curb appeal coupled with nice window signs, fervent parking, and their logo on every cup in every person’s hand, makes we want to change their saying: “New England runs on Dunkin!” And that it does.
On my days off I have been doing tons of exploring. I have driven the length of the NH seacoast….some of those houses, let me tell ya! I have found a few state parks with good hiking trails, gaped at the beauty of the lighthouses in Maine, and driven through numerous downtowns all alive with the hustle and bustle of consumers and walls that I wish could speak. Such beauty around here! I am overwhelmed with places I want to go, but am saving them ’til I find a friend or two who is able to accompany me thus making the experience more joyful. It’s just not as much fun by yourself. But that is what comes with living alone, too often everything is a party of one.
I have been told to expect people not to be as welcoming or nice up here, but I haven’t noticed that yet. The only circles I find myself in so far are barn and church. Everyone at the barn is super nice which is a sigh of relief, because there is nothing I hate worse than barn drama. The bible study group is great, but being the youngest and one of the only singles hasn’t found me someone in a similar situation as I. Then there are the other people at church that don’t attend the bible study. I’m aching for time to talk with them and get to know them but I work on Sundays and can only show up for the service and then it’s back to work I go with nary a chance to exchange a few words. I’ll stick with it. Something will turn up, it takes time.
Everything takes time. Pepper is not improving at the expected rate so his stall rest has been extended and he might even need up to a year completely off. Hopefully I can still transport him at the scheduled time. Sigh….I miss riding my horse. Although, I have been doing some excellent riding here under the knowledgeable eye of Mary! I have learned so much and I feel like a much better rider in just the month I have been here. This will be very good for me! The barn staff all work together very well and Mary approves of my work ethic and riding. This was definitely where I needed to go to advance toward my career goals. Thank you, Mary, for your wonderful facility, horses, and teaching. This is a great opportunity for an aspiring trainer such as myself.
I’m still enjoying my living space in the basement, but it comes with it’s own set of “basementisms.” Firstly, every kleenex turns into about a 2-4 spider grave. They are all pretty tiny and harmless so that’s no big deal. At night I can hear mice running along the ceiling tiles. Ok, so it’s one mouse and he just runs back and forth, back and forth along the wall above my head in bed. Where does he think he’s going? Thankfully, I don’t hear it all the time. I have found two dead moles in exactly the same spot at the base of the “death” stairs. What, is there some anti-mole force field in that spot and that spot only and the wayfaring moles seem to find it and meet their fate. I don’t know. Once I thought the ceiling was going to fall on me as I heard it rattling as if a commercial aircraft was zipping right overhead. It would fade and come back on several occasions and I could not figure out what it was. Finally, I surmised it was Mary vacuuming her carpet upstairs. Funny how it can sound so different and menacing from underneath. Mystery solved. I’ll be expecting it from now on. It will be interesting to see what challenges winter will bring not knowing the amount of snowfall until I attempt to exit the basement. Oh, and it took me an hour to boil a pot of water on my hotplate one night. I was just trying to cook pasta! Rice has proved much easier. And pancakes.
My ankle was feeling so wonderfully back to normal that I decided it was time to try running again. I set out on my customary 2 mile run that went so well and still produced an under 8 minute mile. A few days later I did it again with a faster time and felt even better. I went for a third run that was the most successful yet with a time of 7:39/mile. I was thrilled! But, as the day went on my ankle started to not feel so good anymore. I think the hills around here are what did me in. Perfect. Pain is supposed to be a sign that something is wrong, so why couldn’t it have just started hurting during the run so I would stop and not hours afterwards? I was hoping that walking it out later in the day would fix the problem. It didn’t. I can’t jog anymore and I have to concentrate really hard not to limp around. I’m back to dismounting on one foot again. Thankfully, riding is still not compromised. That’s what I get for doing too much too fast. But it was feeling so good.
In fact that walk that I went on turned into a hike. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking, but I really should have only done a walk. I found a state park that had miles of trails and got a recommendation of the best one to take. “It’s about 5 miles round trip with a spectacular 360 view of NH at the top. But, it does get pretty steep there at the end.” Yeah right, I’m from Oregon, how steep could it possibly be? So I struck out on the trail. It was a very nice trail with lots of rocks and a reminder of how the Granite State lives up to it’s name. This isn’t that steep, just rocky! Well, next thing I know I’m hiking straight up the side of a mountain, some on flat rock face. Ok, she wasn’t kidding….this is steep! I made it and the view at the top was so worth the climb. There is a fire tower at the top of this particular mountain providing a panoramic view of the surrounding area. It was beautiful! As I’m sitting there resting and taking in the sights I hear the rumble of thunder in the distance and see some pretty looming clouds heading my way. This is just great. I’m at the top of a mountain, 2.5 miles away from my truck and there’s a storm a-coming!….. First thing’s first: get yourself off the mountain.
So, I set off, ankle still holding up well. I managed to navigate down the steep slopes well enough and pressed on as the sky overhead continued to grumble. In my determined state to get myself off the mountain I am suddenly hit with the realization that my car keys are not in my pocket and never actually made it in my pocket in the first place. Wonderful! Not only am I going to be stuck in a thunderstorm, I have locked my keys in my car and my bum ankle and I will be out of luck!….. First thing’s first: get yourself off the mountain. So I pressed on. Did I even lock the truck? Yes, I distinctly remember locking it. Crap. Rumble, rumble. What good is an extra set of keys in your purse if you go out for a hike and purposefully leave your purse in the car?! At least I remembered to cover it with a blanket in the back seat. Rumble. Don’t even worry about it now, just get yourself off the mountain! Rumble, rumble. How could I be so stupid!?…..no, focus here, first thing’s first: get yourself off the mountain! As the trail finally leveled out more and the rocks became fewer and farther between my first goal of getting off the mountain was nearly completed. At last my truck was in sight. Hesitantly, I walked up to the door. Here goes nothing. I tried the latch. As my fingers closed around the handle I gave it a gentle pull….it gave way! Never have I been so thankful to be so forgetful. Not only did I forget to take the keys, I forgot to lock the door! There they were hanging in the ignition. Don’t try this at home, folks, and especially not out in the middle of nowhere at the base of a mountain in a thunderstorm! I did happen to escape the downpour too, so all in all it was rather a successful hiking endeavor. The ankle didn’t feel any better, but it didn’t feel any worse either. So, it was the run on the hilly pavement that did me in, not the hike up the rocky mountain. Who knew?
Well, so far my new job and new state is treating me splendidly and I feel blessed to have ended up so well after being so confused and stressed only a few months back. I hope you all enjoy your various celebrations on this year’s Independence Day. I’m headed down to a beach house in Massachusetts for a night of BBQ and firework watching in the heart of the original 13 colonies.
More adventures from historic New England on the way!