Lange: The Getaway

Nov 1, 2018

This time of year, when the leaves have mostly gone from the maples, reminds me of the first paragraph of Moby Dick.

With apologies to Herman Melville: Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul ... and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me ... then, I account it high time to get to the woods as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the forest.

The last few weeks, feeling keenly the rapidly disappearing sun, the cold nibbling at the corners of the house, and the awful news and opinions screaming for attention, I found on my desk calendar a four-day blank space between things I had to do.

So I did something else I had to do: Get out of here. I reserved an old cabin in far northern New Hampshire, loaded some groceries and a sleeping bag, put my puppy's crate into the back of the car, and off we went.

I always tell both the car and the dog when we leave the St. Lawrence watershed for the Connecticut, and again from that to the Androscoggin – the car because it has a nice downhill rest coming, and Kiki – she's a terrier – just to make conversation. She's not much of a geographer.

But she does fancy herself a mighty hunter. After wrestling for half an hour with some damp hard maple kindling, I finally got the stove going and as it warmed up, so did the mice. They were everywhere. Kiki was ecstatic!

Old cabins have dozens of dark hiding places; she scoured them all. I don't think she caught any mice, but that night, between feeding the stove and feeling her leap off the bunk to chase every noise, I had a lively time.

By morning it'd snowed a few inches; the car was encrusted. A perfect day to sit in a chair by a window, listen to the ticking of the stove, and watch the fir trees nodding in the wind.

The rest of the world might be shouting, tweeting, and shooting; but I think the quiet way of the woods is the way things are suppose to be.