One Year Later: Cradled in the Bosom of the Mountains

I’d been cradled in the bosom of the mountains and didn’t even know it.  

Last year I shared that my pre-moving mantra was “I’d like to live somewhere where I can walk out my door and into the woods, and I’d love for there to be mountains.” And how, miraculously, I’d manifested them. 

I’m getting to know myself pretty well these days. While an adventurous sun sign in Sagittarius loves to explore new places, my Taurus moon/rising is very much a homebody. Everywhere I’ve lived as an adult I needed to make my home comfortable and beautiful. Taurus loves home. And beauty. Heck, even my childhood forts needed to feel homey.

Also, I tend to stick pretty close to home – hence my desire to be able to walk out my door into the woods rather than having to get in the car to drive somewhere beautiful.

Mission accomplished. The woods are my backyard and even delivery men and women do a jaw drop at the view of the mountains.

As a child (and even as an adult) I would lament when our yearly one week vacation in Northern Michigan would end and the scent of Pine trees would become a memory that would need to sustain me until we returned the following summer.

Now, giant White Pines line my driveway and inhabit the woods behind the house, living in harmony with Eastern Hemlock, Birch, Beech, Oak, Maple and Ash.

New Hampshire is blessedly covered with trees: 84.3% (4.8 million acres) to be exact, and second only to Maine.

But, back to the mountains.

A couple of weeks ago I ventured across the road into the wildlife sanctuary. It’s the view that I stare at for hours on end. 

With five southern-facing windows and a door, I witness an ever-changing landscape of mountains, trees, swamp, creek, clouds and fog. It’s where I saw a moose playing in the water.  

When I reached the boardwalk in the middle of the swamp, I turned around and looked towards my house (photo above – first teeny house on the left). I’d been living here for a couple of months when a friend walked out there with me. I was shocked to see that there are mountains BEHIND my house and the woods. On all sides! 

I am literally cradled in the bosom of the mountains. In the foothills of the White Mountains, to be exact.

So, I’ve been wandering around the land here the past several days floating in a state of gratitude. It’s November 11th and one year has passed since my moving day.

11 is a magical number for me. 11/11 is extra magical. November is a powerful month. The veil between our world and the spirit world begins to thin. If you get quiet and pay attention, you will feel it.

The day I moved in I felt as though I’d stepped through a portal. Time slowed down and yet also seemed to speed up. I float through my days unaware of the time and often of the date, as well. My focus shifted away from busy life as I knew it to coexisting in the landscape.

What have I been doing all these months?

Quite simply, I’ve been in a state of Being.

Watching and learning from the plants. And the mountains. The stars in the sky. The animals.

They are healing me. Healing that I don’t think I even realized I needed. Deep healing. Slowing me down.

There must be a reason I inserted mountains into my mantra. I’d never lived near them before. Turns out, they are the ultimate Nature antidote for someone who needs grounding. Along with trees, of course.

This has been one of the most important years of my life. Most of the highlights have been simple pleasures.

Growing my first ever vegetable and herb garden. I didn’t do it justice this year but I learned a lot. Mostly, it takes a lot more care than I gave it.

Driving to a local spring to fill my water jugs.

Opening my door and looking up at the moon and the stars.

Sitting by the river.

Bonding with wild Yarrow, Mullein, Mugwort, Red Clover, Dandelion, Goldenrod, New England Aster, St. John’s Wort and more.

First and foremost I learned that just because these plants exist here in abundance doesn’t mean I need to over harvest them. I learned to ask, with respect and only take what I need. Sometimes that meant not taking any at all.

I let the property go wild and found myself living on top of a meadow. I’ve never seen so many dragonflies and butterflies and bees.

I came here a bit of a happy hermit and find myself now with new friends who share a similar outlook on the state of the world as well as a deep love of Nature. Plus, we laugh a lot. They have already taken up residence in my heart.  And as much as I love my solitude, it is comforting to know that there are people nearby who care about me and would be here in a flash if I was in need. 

I’ve recently been given the go-ahead to use the beautiful barn which I’ve been pining after all year. I’m hoping it will get me creating again. There’s something magical about a barn.

I saw a total of five bears this year. All right here at The Bear Den.

Bear number one seemed more like a mirage lumbering down the path in the woods at dusk. It was the first time I’d seen a bear in the wild.

The second sighting was at 5am one morning when I looked out my bedroom window and saw something dark moving through the meadow on the hill. By the time I got my binoculars I saw a mama bear with her two cubs crossing the road and headed into the swamp.

Number three happened as I was about to turn into my driveway one morning. I saw movement on the side of the road and slowed down, thinking it was a wild turkey. Just a few feet from me was a black bear in the ditch. We locked eyes for about twenty seconds before I had to move on with a car approaching behind me.

I’ll admit that after the first sighting my unease of meeting a bear in the woods intensified for several weeks. But, by the time the third bear sighting had happened I noticed that my trips into the woods had become more relaxed. My anxiety had changed to anticipation of seeing one of these incredible animals.

I stacked one and a half cords of wood for the winter! My eyes were like saucers when I saw how much wood was on that truck as he dumped it all into a giant pile. It became my meditation, stacking those logs. 

And, just yesterday I learned a new way of starting a fire in my wood stove. The Swedish top down approach. It works like a charm.

Next project is a fire pit out front on the hill. I can’t wait to sit by the fire under the stars.

I’m definitely doing that “living in the moment” thing. I have never been someone who liked to dwell on the past or look to the future. Even as a child, I remember having these thoughts.

As I grew into adulthood, I would get crabby if someone asked me “What do you want to do/be in six months, a year, ten years, etc.” Ugh. 

Ditto dragging me back into the past to hash over old regrets.

Yes, this most certainly has been a year of BE-ing.

The seasons here in order of preference this first year are as follows: Fall, Winter, Summer, Spring (the bugs drove this verdant green season to the bottom of my list). Sorry ticks and black flies. You are despicable.

And now, just a few words about life outside of my idyllic setting here. Yes, this wacky internet world keeps me connected to what’s happening. And a local Google Group for our sleepy little town has shown itself to be a microcosm of the ugly divide happening in our world. It’s shocking, really.

I don’t know about you but there are far too many elephants in the room with regard to relationships. So much is going unsaid as we try desperately to stay connected.

It’s been another tough year for Sagittarians. We want the Truth and we don’t really like small talk.

So, I have continued to research everything I can about this PLandemic and I hope you are, as well.

I’m especially disturbed about what’s happening with the children who are powerless and now living in a dystopian world. 

The normalization of mask-wearing triggers a rage in me that I’m not even sure where it’s coming from. The fact that it doesn’t even bother many young people – some of them feel more comfortable with one on – makes me so sad for their future. The adults still clinging to them, or wearing them outside, well I don’t waste too much time fretting about them anymore.

And the experimental jab that’s not a vaccine being given to young children – if I focus too long on that I go to a very dark place. 

I am happy that some of the parents I know are fierce mama and papa bears who are protecting their children at all costs. I don’t envy them. It’s a tough time to be raising young children.

I have worked really hard trying not to impose my beliefs of what is happening on others but I will not, EVER, hold back on speaking up. 

I just went into the woods to clear my head from this screen staring. The only sound I could hear was the occasional leaf breaking free from its branch and fluttering to the ground.

I hope that wherever you are – especially if that wherever is in the city – you are able to retreat to a quiet place in Nature, if only for a few minutes every day. My daily bike rides by the river kept me sane when I lived in the city. 

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts about my first year here with you. I feel myself preparing for hibernation along with the bears. How about you?

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. This post is dedicated to Jamie and Mia. When a writer sends words out into the ethers, it’s always an added bonus to have readers who genuinely look forward to what you’ve written.These two dears have reached out to me so many times to tell me this so I wanted to acknowledge them both. Thank you, Jamie and Mia! xo

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