“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” I’ve always been fascinated with how an author begins a novel. Just how do they decide what the first line(s) will be? Does the first sentence appear to them and the tale is spun from there? Or, is the novel written first without an opening and only then does the inspiration for the first sentence emerge? I suspect both scenarios occur, and many others as well!
I thought it would be fun to research some first lines in various novels and see if I could somehow apply them to my current state of mind. It also might inadvertently provide me with some more reading material that might not otherwise have appeared on my radar screen!
The first line in this blog post comes from the novel Back When We Were Grownups, by Anne Tyler. I haven’t read this novel as yet, but the story line is based on a 50-something widow who begins to examine what her life might have been had she chosen a different trajectory. Ultimately, the underlying theme suggests the answer lies in loving the life you have now. As soon as I read that “first line,” it seemed to describe me perfectly at this junction in my life!
I think we all pause at times (more often later in life!) and reflect on how our lives might have evolved had we made different choices along the way. Living in the present and choosing to be happily in love with one’s current situation is something I spend a great deal of time contemplating these days. With the disruption the Covid-19 pandemic has caused in my life and others, I have begun to question some decisions I’ve made over the years. As I examine how I might have done things differently – so that I would be in a better place today or be a better, different person – I find that I generally come full circle around to a conclusion that I’m indeed grateful for what I have accomplished and who I am. I have definitely indulged in a bit of retrospection regarding my life during these troubling times! And, that reflection is grounding me and helping me re-focus my priorities and move forward.
As Jack Kerouac said, “Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.” That’s the philosophy I choose to embrace as I navigate through the ever-changing waters of life as we know it right now. With that in mind, I decided it was time for a little “get away” from our project-laced several months at home. We needed rest and relaxation! And I desperately longed for a good kayak paddle on a quiet pond.
My sister-in-law suggested a trip to her cabin up in the Northeast Kingdom. She had been longing to spend some time there and wanted company. I had not been to this spot since the cabin was under construction years ago, so I was game to check it out. The cabin sits between Great Averill Lake and Little Averill Lake near the Canadian border and is part of the Averill Recreational Camp Owner’s, Inc. private property.
It’s rustic and small – a one room cabin with a sleeping loft and an outhouse. No electricity, no cell service, no internet, no running water. The warm glow of oil lamp wall scounces and candle lanterns provide a soothing ambience at night. A perfect spot to enjoy nature, read, hike, ride bikes and paddle! The weather was awesome during our 4-day stay and we spent leisurely hours just relaxing and taking advantage of all the remote area has to offer. A much needed respite from all the “noise” of every day life.
Our first full day, we decided to bike in the morning to check out Little Averill Lake. It was very windy on the lakes so we opted to scope out the boat launch area for another day and stop by the Hanging Rock Trail on our way back. After lunch back at the cabin, a lazy afternoon on the Great Averill Beach was spent – napping, reading and listening to the loons.
On our ride back from Little Averill, Trudy suggested stopping off at a trail head and taking a short hike to the geological feature called the “Hanging Rock.” It was a beautifully enchanting spot with this insane rock overhang! I imagined that at any moment fairies, elves or gnomes might emerge from the surrounding woodland to greet us!
I woke up the second day before the others and, with coffee mug in hand, took a walk down the dirt road to listen to the birds and loosen up a bit. The stillness of the air meant it was possibly going to be a perfect paddle day! We opted for a quick breakfast of yogurt, granola, fresh blueberries and bananas so we could get over to Little Averill Lake while the wind was calm. I’m not sure there could have been a more ideal day to be on the lake! I paddled my kayak while Jim and his sister, Trudy, canoed in our Bell canoe.
We were entertained by several loons and had the rare pleasure of watching an adult loon feeding its chick!
On the far side of the lake is a nice beach area where we pulled over for a snack and a quick swim in the frigid water! I watched a sandpiper meandering along the creek that fed the lake for quite a while. He scooted along quickly and was very busy. It was hard to get a clear shot!
We spent the remainder of the day back at the cabin relaxing and preparing the fire ring for an evening campfire. A short walk after dinner capped off a perfect day!
Great get-away and good company!! 🙂