My adventure to Western Maine was so much fun. I started the drive east through Wolfeboro, which I’ve never driven through and then into Ossipee and small towns in western Maine I’ve never seen. My GPS offered the fastest route which included small town roads off the beaten path that at times scared me so much with the thought of losing service and not knowing where the heck I was.
The initial destination was the Norway Brewing Company but when we got there at noon they were serving brunch and had no vegetarian options so the second (and best) choice was Cafe Nomad just down the street. We stopped in to the bike shop where Brad used to work and they were busy! The Green Machine Bike Shop on Main St.
Cafe Nomad had the best beer (Maine Beer Company, Lunch) and I had Nomad burger, a bean veggie burger – delicious combination. Brad had the cuban sandwich.
Then we drove north to see Brad’s new house and snowshoed around his property.
It is such a great feeling to connect with friends that you haven’t seen in so long. Brad is his same silly self and still loves to walk slowly in the woods and see everything.
There was still so much snow in the woods and snow squalls came in from the east as we hiked around. Winnie loved running around the steep snow and was exhausted, sleeping the entire ride home.
I drove home the northern route, through Gorham and Jefferson, down through Franconia Notch. Northern New Hampshire is so beautiful and I want to get to know it again after being away for so long. I still have some mountains to climb.
My lease is up next month and the last thing on my mind is moving; for once.
I like this house. I really like the neighborhood and I walk everywhere. Everything I need is walking distance: groceries, restaurants, library and YMCA.
I want to stay. I want to stay because while the house is too big for me if offers everything I need. I love the kitchen where I write, a living room and entryway, two entrances, several windows for the dogs to watch squirrels and bark at the mailman, two staircases, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two sunrooms. If I was going to stay longer than a year I would consider buying plants for the sunroom but I’m not that long-term committed – I think.
Since moving back to NH a year ago, I still have commitment issues with place. I still need a few more things in my life to feel committed to staying in Concord. However, New Hampshire, I’m staying. The long-term question is which city since there are so many great regions: seacoast, mountains, lakes region and the south western area.
In the past, each move I made was about hope, change and the possibilities associated with a new place such as better job, new friends and exploring the mountains and trails of a new area.
When I moved to the Maine mountains when I was 29 I was in the older category of people moving to a resort town and living the mountain lifestyle. Most people did that right out of college. However, I was just out of college but took a different path to a college degree; taking classes off and on for 10 years while working and traveling to Europe and the West. I have always felt I was 10 years behind everyone else my age. Additionally, not being married and not having kids probably kept me in the younger crowd.
When I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo. from Maine I wanted a new life in a new place but still in the mountains and living rural. I wanted a small town with access to the outdoor life. Later moving to Grand County, an even smaller rural community, I loved being surrounded by wilderness and beauty.
After living the mountain lifestyle I was ready for Tucson. I knew that I wanted something new, something I’ve never done before: to live in a big city and have a great job. Tucson and Phoenix surprised me since I didn’t realize before arriving that they were surrounded by big mountains with amazing hiking, trail running and mountain biking. Now I had the best of both worlds: mountains and a big city.
Now, I live back in the state I grew up in and thought I knew it pretty well. Things change after 15 years and now I’m re-learning the mountains and trails that I loved so long ago.
Moving back to New Hampshire and the process of leaving Colorado and The West was a feeling, at the time, I couldn’t express and didn’t fully realize. As I drove across country I was excited to see my parents and live close to them, but I wasn’t sad and I wasn’t completely happy. It is only now that I feel the sense of loss. I truly miss the familiar spaces of Colorado and the self I left behind. That self – that adventurous, always-planning-the-next-trip me who was always surrounded by mountains, wilderness and friends.
There was something about crossing the imaginary line from east to west that changed me, and I’m still trying to process what it all means. As a writer, I’m still trying to find the story, find the meaning and write about it.
I look at the photos, posters, coffee mugs and books all bought in Colorado or Arizona. I remember all the great people and good times. Nothing here seems that familiar yet and I know that it takes times.
I don’t want to be anywhere else right now. I want to be here.
I am not seeking a new place. I’m staying put.
I’m ready to get into a new routine and find new spaces that will eventually become familiar all while creating a new self that is engaged in place and welcoming the new people who show up to share their life with me.