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Prompt: Weather.
Time: 10 minutes.

A snowstorm. In Cotuit. We lost power for days. No electric heat. Only fire, fueled by the dismantled coffee table.

A thunderstorm. In Lenox. We sat in the window seat, watched the lightning, faces rapt, and listened to the rain.

A rain shower. In Clinton. We jumped in the puddles, smiling our we-have-all-the-time-in-the-world smiles.

A heat wave. In Arizona. We drove and drove and drove, and our boombox melted, and we smiled.

A cold snap. In Lenox. We cooked chicken soup and sat on the brown couch and cozied in.

A blue sky. We lounged in a cemetery on my birthday and read aloud.

Be a weatherperson.



Jackson Covered Bridge

Welcome to Jackson!

This weekend, Giraffe took a trip to the North Country of New Hampshire as I reconnected with old friends and stomped around old haunts. Jackson has a special place in my heart. I lived there for a few years in elementary school (third through fifth-ish grades), and then I was back up in the vicinity when I was serving in the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program for a year after college.

Jackson Covered Bridge

The Jackson Covered Bridge is quite old. Giraffe is much younger.

There’s nothing like an old one-lane covered bridge into town to make it feel out of time, or quaint, or touristy, or all of the above. In any case, I find it endearing.

Giraffe at Jackson Falls

One of Giraffe's new favorite places.

One of my most favorite places is Jackson Falls. During AmeriCorps, I spent many afternoons there sitting in the sun, surrounded by the roar of the water, pondering all the things one ponders when you’re 22/23 and trying to figure out life and the world and people, and you’re working at a crisis center where you live in an apartment above the shelter (that is in an undisclosed location).

Jackson Falls

View down the Falls.

And one of my favorite events when I was little was the Wildquack River Festival, which involves herding hundreds of rubber duckies racing down Jackson Falls. I’m not even kidding. I had a bright orange volunteer shirt that I wore for years after I had the chance to be a duck-herder (broom in hand).

Giraffe at Falls

Giraffe takes a closer look at the Falls.

I didn’t want Giraffe to be like one of the rubber ducks and take a trip down the Falls, but Giraffe couldn’t resist getting a closer look.

Giraffe at Jackson Falls

Giraffe sunning next to the Falls.

Jackson Falls

View from the top of Jackson Falls

After some delightfully serene moments at the Falls, Giraffe and I headed back down into town.

Jackson Grammar School

Jackson Grammar School

We said hello to the Jackson Grammar School, where I started my first day with a side ponytail, had my first crush (on a pale boy named Simon), and was one of three Jessicas in a class of 10 (and that was several grades combined). It was originally a three-room schoolhouse, and if I remember correctly, while I was there, they added on an extra classroom (it’s even bigger now). My favorite classroom was up some stairs that are on the other side of the window to the right of the door.

Recess Yard Shadow

Recess Yard

We played four-square and tetherball and hopscotch and jump-rope during recess. And tunneled into the big pile of snow that the plow made in the winter.

Jackson Library

Jackson Public Library

And Mr. Poon or Mrs. Birkbeck would walk us across the street and over the bridge that crossed the Wildcat River to the teeny Jackson Public Library, where we could feast our hungry brains on the shelves of books that seemed quite adequate to us young’uns at the time (but they’re working on a big expansion right now!).

Jackson Town Hall

Jackson Town Hall

Our yearly musical productions were performed in the Jackson Town Hall, just across the street in the other direction from the school. That is where I twirled a yellow boa as I sang “Cabaret” in a production of SRO: Standing Room Only. Again, not even kidding. I guess I was too young to be paralyzed by nerves.

The Wentworth

The Wentworth

The Wentworth (across the street from the library) was one of the places that my parents worked, and we lived in one of their condos for awhile. Things of note that I remember about the Wentworth: they had hayrides in the fall, my mom built a gingerbread replica of it one holiday season, and it had a huge fire one year (I remember watching the flames shoot from the roof in the middle of the night).

So, Giraffe had quite a tour and a trip down my memory lane. Also, as a side trip, Giraffe went on safari in Conway, and came across an adorable creature named Jenna. Will the wonders of the North Country never cease?

Giraffe and Jenna

Hark! Is that a baby Jenna I see?

Whenever I look at this photo of me when I was little:

When I Was a Boy

I played horseshoes.

I think of this song (“When I Was a Boy,” by Dar Williams):

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