After I left southern Vermont, I headed to the North Conway area to stay with my friend, Ben, for the night. We met old friends of mine for dinner and sat talking under the darkening sky until the mosquitoes drove us out. Ben and I went out to a spot on a road high above his house and let the darkness envelop us as the stars sank down to meet the fireflies in the field below. There's no other place like New Hampshire where the darkness is so velvety and complete, and the stars are so in reach.
The next morning I was up super early, making my way to Hanover to see my family. I traveled back roads the whole way, winding through woods and fields, navigating washouts, and eventually getting pulled over by a patient cop who let me know that the speed limit was not what I thought it was, then sent me on my merry way.
Eventually, I landed at my family's house, grateful for a giant hug from my cousin Nick, a room looking out over the river, and plenty of quiet time to read. My friend Georgia visited for a night, a luxury we don't often get to indulge in since she lives in NYC with her family.
My old high school friend, Kate, came for lunch and brought her kids, so we went off to Queechee Gorge to look over the edge of the bridge and then back to the river to dip our toes in.
There was plenty of time for my favorite beagle, Otis, making a fiddly but delicious cheesecake from my grandmother's recipe, sifting through family photos, checking out student artwork with my cousin Allegra, talking with my cousin Nick in the kitchen as he came and went between his various jobs, and spending time with my aunt and uncle in the woods.
This place and these people are some of my favorite on earth. A balm for my soul, every time.