I took a quick road trip Friday. I hadn’t been to Peterborough in quite awhile, even though it’s only 18 miles east of Keene. I was delivering some new work to the Sharon Arts Center, so I had a great excuse to muddle around a little.
I’d just reached a point of clarity and peace with our upcoming move. Some of my fears were huge–Would we find a new circle of friends? Will people in California like my art? Will I find another studio as amazing as the one I have now?? Others are plain silly. Will we find another place to study tai chi? (Yes, Santa Rosa has at least eleven tai chi studios. Which is ten more than Keene, and we only need one.)
What did this remind me of??
It was a foggy day, so white that when I got to Dublin Lake, I couldn’t even see Mount Monadnock from the highway, which runs along the lake on its northern shore.
The mountain was less than a mile away, behind a wall of white fog, so this seemed really eerie. And beautiful. This is one of my favorite views in New Hampshire, one that never fails to put me in a state of awe and gratitude.
The fog created a sense of agelessness, as if I and the road had become unhitched from time. And as I drove by the waters, I was reminded of a post I wrote back in 2005, in July, on a day much, much warmer than this chilly November weekend. A moment when I was blessed to see how silly so many of my fears actually were.
And so today, “something old”….
When my children were babies, there was a spot on Route 101 that used to terrify me.
It’s a majorly curvy section around Dublin Lake which nestles at the foot of Mount Monadnock. It’s an absolutely beautiful spot. But the curves can be tricky to negotiate, especially in winter. And the water comes right up to the side of the road.
I would drive by at night in the dead of winter. I would imagine me losing control of the car, going into a skid, and swerving off the road through the ice and into the dark water below.
I imagined terrible scenarios of me struggling to get my babies out of their car seats, forced to make terrible decisions about who to rescue first. I would lie awake at night trying to figure out if I would have time and the strength to get them both out of the car, and wonder whether they would survive the icy waters.
It used to paralyze me.
Later, of course, as they grew older, drives past that lake tended to be more about yelling at them to quit kicking the back of my seat and not to spill their juice on the floor.
Last weekend, my husband cajoled me into going for a dunk in that same spot. We parked by the side of the highway and scrambled down the small incline to the lake. Soon we were standing in ice cold water up to my knees.
That’s right. Up to my knees.
That horrible stretch of water that haunted me for years is only about 18 inches deep.
As I lie awake nights now, listening to the fearful voices in my head, I wonder how many of those fears are also only 18 inches deep.