The joy of friends and memory. New England. The sorrows of parting.

I just returned from a trip to New England, where I slept in a house set among the most gorgeous trees.

We were ‘out of service’. No internet. No phone. We hiked and walked, kayaked and cooked. Together, with my parents, we celebrated the life of one of their best friends, my Uncle John, whose ashes flew away from the top of the great Mount Snow, and, at its slope, in his memory, I remembered my own childhood visits to Vermont.

My black diamond triumph. The smoky wooden smell of his cabin, sleeping with my feet tucked beneath its slanting roof. Candlepin bowling, a small and delicate sport, the way dollhouses are to a child, there’s something small like me. The glittering hill where we used to sled, now overgrown with brush.

We visited friends and family across Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, each one planting a kiss on Little O’s forehead. We sat on the dock of Rust Pond and stories I have grown to love became vivid scenes as I saw for myself where my husband spent weeks of summer as a child.

I met the children of two of my best friends, all born within months of my own son, a beautiful trio spread out across a blue blanket, in purple and flowers and stripes and polkadots, feet in hands, smiles ripe and ready, eyes wide to the world.

Every child Little O meets is labelled a friend. 

This is your friend Nora, Rosie, Meghan, Augie, Brooks, Addison. On and on. This list of new friends.

And so it was with a strange mix of joy and sadness, I drove away. What a beautiful thing, to ride a long yellow line from one person to the next, to be fortunate enough to have so many people to see and hug. What a terrible thing to physically separate from a string of names. A long, winding river reel of the people I love.

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