Unpacking in a new place

This year, the Barn’s largely been cleaning up with posts reflecting my two decades in Dover, a span that brought about a culmination in my life. Marriage, children, an active Quaker Meeting, publication of my novels and much poetry, ocean beaches. It was a rich mix and put me on a huge learning curve, thanks in no small part to my brilliant spouse and said kids.

With my latest Big Project wrapping up and heading (I hope) toward release, I’m in a reflective mood. Why not?

Actually, I’m also feeling at loose ends, before a new routine emerges. I’ll look at that another time.

What I’m not feeling is retired, even if I’m not getting dressed for the office every day. Again, we can delve into that in a future post.

It’s also been a year of big transition for me, holding down the fort aka beach house, camp, summer home before the renovations are in progress and then done.

I’ve been having to master cooking again, which has been a lot of fun, considering the expert advice I can get with a simple phone call, and the reality that I’m quite willing to eat the experiments that fail. (So this is what she means when she says …)

A lot of memories have been stirred up in the process.

Sometimes Eastport reminds me of Port Townsend, Washington, back in the late ‘70s, where Puget Sound collides into the Strait of San Juan de Fuco. It was both a working fishing town and an arts center. And memories, too, of my second Summer of Love, not that coupling was part of the equation here but rather all the chance new introductions.


There’s no nightlife to speak of here, apart from the occasional play or concert. Post-Covid fully, we’ll likely be back to dancing and singing and classic films. And an absence of a number of other things, as I’ll explain sometime in the future.

OK, I do wish our IGA grocery were a Trader Joe’s, and less pricy, but it’s still more varied than an Aldi, at least in summer, when there are far more people in town. We’re way too small for a Market Basket, even if that frugal New England chain ever gets up this far along the New England coast. Practicalities do intrude.

With most of our possessions in storage for now, I’m feeling rather liberated in my spare surroundings. There are days when I wish a certain book or recording were at hand, but I’ve been busy enough to let that pass. We’ll see how much longer that continues.

Holy granola, honey

the summer I thought we’d vacation out West we instead moved there to a new workplace just as I’ve dreamed the parking brake won’t hold the car in place some things don’t change that much and once again, there goes our hard-earned cushion, this time, six steps later, it’s New England and a more faithful spouse, all the same, just as we paid off the barn-repair loan, I was mistaken to think I saw the end coming


Finally, finito

cleansing is more than mere output or holy observance to be done would require not noticing dampness along the wall disclosing leakage what can I then breach anew or newly demolish in the storm churning up from some underside of an altar or anvil? air thickens and clears as a matter of practice with desiccated houseflies or wasps or shards of chimney brick in the attic

Happening, Mel

yes, you know what they say of bread and roses (well, that gilt-edged smoked gouda’s still in the refrigerator, a rare indulgence from last week’s after-inquest) and legitimate French bread (the stuff in this town only is regular dough inside; what a delight to know immediately with the first knife stroke that THIS was the genuine crusty article) (dinner tonight onion soup with gobs of cheese toasted under the broiler, leafy salad, and baguette slices heaped with Vermont butter. if she’d only been with me) Parbleu, this is weird!


When the dead weigh in

Living in New England, I’ve found many people have ghost stories to tell, especially if they’ve inhabited an old house.

Maybe that’s why I found it so natural to see her family in that vein when it comes to my novel What’s Left. So what if hers takes place out in Indiana?


Have you ever experienced apparitions or something else that might be described as haunted? Have you heard others tell about their encounters? What do you think?


Let’s not overlook angels, either.