I had a much slower go of it this weekend.
My Personal Chef and I drove up to the White Mountains after work on Friday night, like we have done hundreds of times over the past four decades. After a quick pitstop for a snack and a drink at the lakeside bar filled with locals (it was like the New Hampshire version of the bar from that old tv show “Cheers”), we got to my folks’ place in time to talk books with my Mama a bit before bed.
We got up just after sunrise to send my snowbird parents off in their RV for their return trip south.
It was another perfect New England fall day. Sunny and brisk, it was a day to savor a second cup of coffee. So we did.
Sitting together at the breakfast bar, my Personal Chef asks, “What do you want the rest of this day to look like?” He is a thoughtful guy, and that is a regular question of his. It is unusual that he asks it up at the lake, though. It is rare that we have an entire weekend up north that hasn’t been planned out for us. There are no occassions being celebrated, no excursions planned, no errands to run, no extended family to catch up with. It was just us, this beautiful place, and two days stretching out before us.
My husband chuckled when I responded, “Can we go to the library?”
In all the years I have been coming up here, I have never been to the library. The space is magical. It’s a nondescript white clapboard building from the outside. That is totally deceiving!
Inside it’s a warren of tiny rooms, and all warm woods and comfy places to sit. There’s a room with a big fireplace that just begs you to come sit by it and read. There’s a special “New Hampshire Room” full of local history books, old trail guides, photo albums of community events over the years, and binders of school essay contest winners going back decades. Outside, there is a pergola with lots of seating and a hobbit hole playhouse for kids to read in.
Sue, the librarian straight out of central casting for a New Englander librarian (white hair in an older woman’s bob, pale blue sweater over a turtleneck, loon earrings, LLBean walking shoes, perfect accent), was all business as I filled out my form for a library card, but softened considerably when she recognized my love of books and libraries. It was a delightful half hour, that Andy and I followed up with a 1.7 mile hike at conservation center we had also never explored before.
It might be past peak for the fall colors, but nobody told the beech trees. The yellows were just magnificent! The sunlight shimmering on the little inlet of Lake Winnepesaukee where the loons nest in the spring looked like a post card. Deeper into the forest, there were granite outcroppings covered with roots of tenacious trees determined to survive. And all of it was covered by the softest moss you have ever seen. It looked like a scene out of a Tolkein story.
After weeks of scurrying around, this was just the day we needed. How do you slow down?