I think we've done 3 or 4 7-hour drives to the Adirondacks since my Mom died, each one "the last." My dad really wanted to go, and once Florian was on board I didn't have the will to argue.
Alright then, we'll make the best of it. I knew that with the dogs in tow, there would at least be some good moments along with the challenges.
With Uncle Johnny along and Dahlia in my lap the whole way, the trip north was better than I expected. And of course, on arrival the dogs were delighted to be in nature with so much space to run around.
The house is still in good shape, though it definitely needs someone to be living there and loving it again. Though I'd dreaded it, it was actually good to go through the rooms again and pay homage to all Mom's things
All the love that she put into that place, the care that she gave it, the dedication with which she cleaned and arranged and decorated and just lived.
It was nice to see many of her plants still thriving and in bloom
and to visit her garden with the little shed where she used to rest. As expected it was kind of sad, but it was also happy. Reassuring somehow to see that life goes on.
That though Mom is no longer tending her garden, her garden continues to grow with the energy she imparted to it all those years.
When I was growing up, we had no shower in the house so we used to wash up in the brook.
So it was no real hardship that we had no running water for this weekend. When we needed to freshen up,
we just gave the dogs a holler, they came galloping along down the hill from the house and down to the brook,
where there's still roughly the same configuration of rocks that was there when I was a kid.
So Florian could still wash up in the "deep pot" close to the rock bridge,
which was where the horse-drawn carriages used to go before there was a road.
And while he did that, I could walk along the brook surrounded by the mosses and ferns and trees that I grew up with, and the dogs could run and sniff and zoom and climb on a beaver dam and get wet and run some more.
I love that forest. The water, the ferns, the moist forest floor covered in fragrant pine needles,
the mushrooms and the red salamanders, the fresh woody smell, the silence.
I love the thought that we can always go back there and camp or stay in a B & B, and not have to worry about the house or the water or the memories or about being Senior Coordinator, and just enjoy the woods and the trails.
What a great support network and mood elevator, to have those dogs around.
They're not worried about old memories or family stresses, they just know that Mom would have wanted them to have a blast
and bury Milk Bones in her gardens, and come back with a filthy nose.
There was no TV or internet,
but Uncle Johnny and Florian had the brilliant idea of bringing some DVDs for entertainment.
So we even managed to have a nice, relaxing time in the evenings.
And when there was a thunderstorm on the second night, and I was finally exhausted and relaxed after two nights of lying awake worrying about the house and my dad and what exactly I was doing bringing an 82-year-old and an 87-year-old man to a remote house with no running water and no internet or phone,
there was nothing to do except just go cuddle up and sleep.