Everything about that place relaxes me. The smells of the forest and damp, clean moss and dirt, the sounds of the brook and the birds, and even the mosquitoes and deer flies,
the feeling of the sleepy town of Gloversville on a hot summer day.
Reminders of my youth, and climbing up the steep hill to visit my mom in her garden in the mornings.
Of water balloon fights with my brothers and sister, and the smell of the plastic beach balls in the Five and Ten store in Northville. Hot days playing with the minnows in Sacandaga Lake. Evening walks along the road with Uncle Johnny, making up stories about the aliens that grew in milkweed pods.
The froggies and toads and red efts who were my playmates once my brothers and sister were older and stayed in the city over the summer, and when Uncle Johnny was working on building his own cabin down the road.
All the lakes and streams and swimming holes and hikes we went on, washing the dogs and picking blackberries and eating sandwiches in the sun.
Going up there for weekends in the winter, and toasting marshmallows with Uncle Johnny. Getting our water in the winter from the well that fed the pond, which in the summer serves as froggie and dog habitat.
My mom and dad and Johnny inexplicably indulgent of my childhood pastimes and wants. When I think of how much time we spent just doing fun, childhood stuff together as a family, I feel amazed. I suppose some of it is just a function of how people's lives used to be structured, where one spouse's income was enough to raise a family (which of course, is no longer the case for most middle-class families) and a tenured position at a university for Dad meant stress-free summers for the whole family. But some of it is the patience of my Mom Dad and Johnny, and the fact that they are just people who are cut out for parenting (or uncle-ing, as the case may be).
It is so much fun to bring Florian and Fozzie and Lamar there, and to have them enjoy it as much as I did.
Florian loves hanging out with my parents,
and the dogs are in Heaven being a part of a larger tribe and having lots of people around to pet them.
Not to mention a huge space in which to run around and sniff and chase frisbees
and play with our friend Dizzy, who was sweet and seemed happy to have us there.
All week, there was nothing to do but watch TV with my parents,
explore the grounds and the woods, go for drives to visit the quaint little towns I grew up in,
roll around in the grass,
and read my Dad's books.
When I'm up there, I actually sleep. It's the silence but for the sounds of the crickets and the brook, the relaxing way we spend our days, the comfort and familiarity of being with family.
More than anything though it's how distant I feel from the thousand little stressful responsibilities of daily life, and the feeling that none of them can get me. There's no cell phone service, internet is so slow there's no point in logging on, no one knows how to reach me.
I can safely regress to those happy years of childhood when everything was taken care of, and I slept (more) easily.
Before returning to the real world of adulthood,
which is really not so bad either.