I Fell Asleep Under the Stars

We pack our things and run away to wide open spaces. We zip along from Massachusetts to Vermont. The people grow fewer and the trees multiply in number and variety and I always think it looks like God poured a packet of mixed seeds along the landscape and now trees and wild flowers pop up in colorful abundance.


We set up camp and sleep outdoors and it feels good to be close to the earth.




We sit under the trees and the sky and breathe in the outside air. The campfire smoke swirls around in our lungs and we are alive in this wild, outdoor space.


We gather around campfires and relax in the warmth of the mesmerizing flames.




We swim in the cold mountain water and tip toe along the river bed filling our pockets with river glass.





We ride bikes and stretch our legs and souls—shaking off the dust of life lived away from the woods.



I caught these sneaky little ninjas poking around my tent…



…And I couldn’t seem to shake the little savages….but as it turns out—I really, really love them.


God kissed the sky and it blushed pink at his touch.


And the sun set on our outdoor adventure for one more year and we all fell asleep under the starlit sky that seemed poked through with the light from another world.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Thoreau, Walden Pond

And Now I Can Fulfill My Destiny

I love being outside. I think perhaps I should have been a vagabond instead of a normal person. Oh well. I decided to make up an excuse for going outside and bought the cutest vintage bike you’ve ever seen. No really, EVER. Here she is:

She came in the mail this morning and I haven’t regained my senses yet. Here’s the husband putting her together in the kitchen. Nothing like having an aerospace Quality Manager put things together for you–if the helicopters fly then the bike should ride (we hope).

I decided to take her out for her maiden voyage, all along telling Husband what an avid bike rider I was all through my youth and pretty much laid it out that I was pro. Probably shouldn’t have done that. I almost died. I went like a 1/4 of a mile and my knee was aching and I was panting for air. Sooo, I guess I’m a little out of shape–fail.

Here she is in her new home–our living room. She can’t live outside because I’m fairly certain one of my various pot-infused neighbors will take her for a spin and then I would have to chase them down and we would fight to the death–not ideal if you ask me. So, I vote she lives in the living room. Husband says she has to live in the basement. Silly Husband. Does he really think I’m going to let him put my sweet little bike in that dark abyss? No, I win; she lives in the living room.

I have lots of plans for my little bike–camping trips, racing the nephews, national parks, days at the beach…just as soon as I get my 26 year old knee and lungs whipped back into shape–who knew I would get so old so young? That’s what living in the city does to you, I say. Get me outside!

I bought the basket separately from Peterboro Basket Company located in Peterborough, New Hampshire. They hand-make their baskets right here in the USA using all American products…love that, love supporting local business when I can.

So, what are your plans for the warm weather days?

Missouri’s Quiet Lure

People here in New England often ask me why anyone would live in Missouri; that always makes me smile. They also ask me where Missouri is as they stare blankly trying to picture the United States map and the location of the (rather large, right in the dead center) state…somewhere…but where? Not that New Englanders aren’t smart enough to actually locate Missouri…it just escapes them due to its total lack of interest. The descriptions of Missouri that I have so far received from people who have never been there are as follows:

Flat, windy, tornado-ridden waste land that is hot and dry. Often mistaken with Kansas as if they are one entity. A place with no trees, water, or hills primarily housing cows and corn fields.

With this hellish vision in mind, can you blame them for blocking it out of their memory of the US map?

Like New England is stereotyped for its winters, Missouri is stereotyped for its nothingness. And like most stereotypes, it is wrong.

I suppose much of what is listed in that rather bleak description of Missouri is factually correct—it is flat, windy, and tornado ridden—but that’s not all. It also embodies the Ozarks which are studded with mountains, rivers, and caves—not at all flat or dry. And some of the things people make sound so awful are my most loved memories.

I grew up on a 24 acre farm in what we like to call the middle of nowhere. Our driveway was a quarter of a mile long and winding from our yellow farmhouse  set in the middle of the fields to a gravel road leading to Higginsville and Lexington. Being situated between a gravel road and farm land provided a lot of dust. Dust. Dry feathery dirt. But without dust, there is no sunset, not one to revel in at least. I remember the sunsets in Missouri being nothing but epic. When you combine all that dust with heavy storm clouds, you get the brightest shades of pink and orange and the darkest violets and navies all mingling together with the fleeting sun in one last hurrah each night.

Like the dust, the endless corn fields too held a little bit of magic. The places where the tractor turned while seeding left perfect bare circles in the middle of all that tall corn. I would go out to the fields at night and lay on the dirt in one of those circles gazing up at the night sky so clear and bright you could pick out the star formations. I was lost in an ocean of corn and that little bare circle was my secret castle among the endless rolling Plains.

Next to our house was a field no one farmed that grew tall with prairie grass. I remember lying in that grass, watching it rock like the ocean’s waves all around me. It didn’t feel empty or desolate, just quiet and vast. William Cullen Bryant captures my thoughts in his own writings about the Midwest:

The Prairies

“These are the gardens of the Desert, these

The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,

For which the speech of England has no name—

The Prairies. I behold them for the first,

And my heart swells, while the dilated sight

Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo! They stretch

In airy undulations, far away,

As if the Ocean, in his gentlest swell,

Stood still, with all his rounded billows fixed,

And motionless forever. Motionless?—

No—they are all unchanged again. The clouds

Sweep over with their shadows, and, beneath,

The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye;

Dark hollows seem to glide along and chase

The sunny ridges. Breezes of the South!…”

I keep this poem on the bookshelf in my living room because it calls my heart back home and reminds me of those quiet days when I all I had to do was lay in the grassy field and watch the clouds go by.

All these thoughts about Missouri were stirred up when I saw a picture my mom posted on Facebook of the Katy Trail in Rocheport, Missouri. How many miles have I walked and ridden on this trail! The Katy Trail is a 237 mile railroad track that was covered over with crushed limestone and converted into a walking/biking trail. I had all but forgotten about this trail until I saw my mom’s picture of that familiar tunnel. Now my legs are aching for a long jog down this forgotten path.

Every place has its lure; you just have to go there and find it. Check out the link below for more information on the Katy Trail:

Bike the Katy Trail