My dad and grandfather built this place in 1960. A little under one acre of land nestled lakeside in a small New Hampshire town. It wasn't much to look at on the inside..one great room open to the rafters and three small bedrooms separated by a curtain. It was the view of the lake that always held the appeal for me. On full moon evenings, you could walk the path of moonlight across the water to our shore. Some of the sunrises I witnessed over the lake are by far the best I've ever seen. It has been sanctuary, refuge and a part of me my entire life. When I think about a sense of place, it is this place that I carry within me.
Wendell Berry famously said 'If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are'. Wallace Stegner interprets this as "... talking about the knowledge of place that comes from working in it in all weathers, making a living from it, suffering from its catastrophes, loving its mornings or evenings or hot noons, valuing it for the profound investment of labor and feeling that you, your parents and grandparents, your all-but-unknown ancestors have put into it".
On early summer mornings, the trill of the nesting Loons would bring us gently to consciousness. Throughout the day, diving Osprey would entertain while the Great Blue Heron would watch silently from the shoreline. This was a gathering place for all those I hold dear. I fell in love here, I fell out of love here. Friends have gotten married here on the tiny shore. My memory has forever captured those moments of friends laughing in the sun, heading out from shore in a small flotilla of kayaks and floats. I remember blueberries as big as marbles, fireworks over the lake on the fourth, songs and guitar licks around a campfire and a carpet of Lady Slippers in the backyard.
I sold it this year to the Good Reverend and his wife from Connecticut. Like me, they spent their summers on the lake as children. Selling them my dream was in fact helping them to realize their own. They get the importance of this place. I think they will be good stewards of all I hold dear.
I had always thought I'd be able to hang onto this place. The fact is, the impact of my mom's illness made it to costly to keep up and pay taxes on. I did not visit the lake this summer though it is only a 10 minute drive from home. I am not yet ready to view my place as their place. I may go back next summer, or not.