A few more people-y pix and then I will be on to the other good stuff… dogs and pumpkins and posies and stuff. I really should get myself a Flickr account, but if we sit around here waiting for me to get myself together enough to do that, it will be all January and stuff and you’ll be looking at my photos going “man, that’s so 2007. Get over it already. yeesh.” So… here is the three of us, the girls looking gawgeous and me offering living proof why you should never get your haircut three days before journeying to meet people you have never met before where styling time (and showers) will be severely limited and yesterday’s make up is gonna have to suffice ‘cuz baby, we’ve got places to go, things to do and all of New England at our feet!
It may have started with Disney’s animated version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you know the one… with the gawky Ichabod Crane atop his loping horse, all beaky nose and jutting adam’s apple being chased though covered bridges and haunted woods by the relentless Headless Horseman whilst owls hooted and bullrushes tattooed a spooky beat on hollowed logs.
Or maybe in my childhood, I somehow confused the UK’s England with the newer model established by the pilgrims long ago at Plymouth Rock. Maybe I was one of those pilgrims in a past life or something (I do have a strange affection for big buckled black shoes after all). I’m not sure. But whatever the case, I have harbored a life long love of all things New England even though I have never been there. Never. Not once. Not unless you count NYC as New England (which I was informed this weekend it is most definitely not).
I love lobster and apples and autumn and pumpkins and clapboard. N.C. Wyeth is my ultimate illustration hero. I love ships and sailboats and things which come in wooden kegs. I love seashells and sea worn stones and fishing nets and moose and wild turkeys and the Gilmore Girls. I love schrimshaw work and Shaker style everything, picket fences and Emily Dickenson. I love pane glass windows and red barns and cranberries and Newhart, maple syrup and inns. I love Whistler’s Mother and John Singer Sargent and Nathaniel Hawthorne not to mention that whole prep school/Ivy League thang. I love tricorn hats and Benjamin Franklin and quilts and clam chowder and witches and acorns. I love The Pixies, John Updike, and lighthouses. Chances are, if I love it, you will find it somewhere in New England, it came from New England or it ultimately wound up in New England (like Martha Stewart). Or it is done better in New England than anywhere else (like Halloween).
But, I repeat, I had never ever been there before.
But this past weekend? This past weekend I flew to Boston to meet two of the most magical women on the face of this planet and found myself royally ensconced in the heart of New Hampshire, looking out over the most incredible vistas, entranced by the wonder that is Soliden, charmed and beguiled by everything and everybody I laid my eyes on.
New England is all that I dreamed it would be and so, so, SO much more, I don’t even know how to express it. I have so much more to say, but mostly I just want to thank the two darling darling creatures, two of the best friends I never met (until this past weekend!) who made it possible for me to spend a couple of days in my personal version of paradise (and also the Handsome Guy for encouraging me to go in the first place and for taking such good care of my furry black heart, Finny J. while I was gone).
Elizabeth, my dearest most luminous BluePoppy, no lighthouse in the world could eclipse the light and inspiration you have shone on me. You are my shining beacon. And damn sexy besides! Thank you for your undying devotion to beauty and truth and for letting me luxuriate for a moment in the loveliness that is your life.
Paige, you dazzling, drawling, enchanting little indigo-eyed Otter, you are a tenderhearted pixie who radiates piercing intelligence and charm (and killer fashion sense) in everything you do, in every way that is possible to radiate charm and intelligence. It was such a pleasure to share the wonder of New England with you, to watch you sparkle and beam, catching the light like a prism. I could not possibly have chosen a better partner to geek out with over all things New England, over stuffed crows and pumpkins and butter coloured doggities. You are my joy! And the cheekiest monkey around.
And New England? LOVE. Just bottom-of-my-heart, speak-it-plain love.
Magical, magical weekend. Life changing even. I want to say that I don’t even have the words, but I do. I have thousands of words, trillions of words and pictures too. But I’m still processing the wonder, the magic. I feel like every fiber of my being is humming and alive, like these vibrant petals… orange and pink and green. And I am filled with every shade of gratitude, full to the brim with love and dreams and joy. I have found my place in the sun. And it turns out? It’s in New Hampshire. Who knew?
Our hotel is right in the heart of Times Square. Times Square where big screaming color rules, where an inexhaustable supply of unusual, hot aromas gasp out of the steam grates. Times Square where the billboards wink down at you, smug and cool, as you are pressed from all sides by walls of steaming humanity (or at least you are when you are my height and trying to get across the street.) Our room directly overlooked all of this and at 3:00 in the morning, I would get out of bed and sit in front of the window, shivering slightly in the hum and pant of the air conditioner and watch it from my pigeon perch, still buzzing, still alive, still rushing beneath me like a technicolour stream… Like that scene from the original Willy Wonka movie where Mike TeeVee gets busted up into a million tiny teeveee pixels and blasted through the atmosphere.
NYC overstimulates on all fronts. At the deli where we ate the first night, my salad plate was larger than my head in girth, and heaped almost over it. The sound is continuous and electric, murmurs and bangs and whistles and shrieks and shouts and something that approximates a sizzle that I swear was rising from the the sidewalk itself. Negotiating Times Square was an adventure at first… for the first two days I had Johnny Protective’s fingerprints permanently tattooed into my flesh just above my elbow where he would clutch me like a bank robber would clutch a bag of freshly heisted gold, attempting to steer me through the seething crowds. But it got easier, you learn to move with the flow, to dart and dash and get the hell out of the way. It always seemed like we were running from Times Square as fast as we could, breaking for the pockets of relative calm on the offshooting streets and avenues. One of the guys who works for Johnny Creative who had lived in NYC for years firmly advised us to stay away from the “Street Meat” (ie. the stuff served up on every street corner by the glut of street vendors… curries and pretzels and hot dogs and roasted peanuts), but I gotta say I probably would have figured that one out on my own. I do admit to one brief low-blood sugar moment of temptation, but wisely chose to duck into a Starbucks instead.
Another of Johnny Shutterbug’s pix. The dusk settling on the Chrysler Building.