When I was about ten years old, I was climbing Mt.Washington with my family and some family friends, and we got lost coming down the mountain. We tried several different trails unsuccessfully. It was getting dark, and though we know that we were close to the end, our parents didn't want to keep going.They were afraid someone might get hurt trying to walk in the dark. We couldn't find the right trail. There must have been eight or ten of us, and we all spent the night in the woods,sleeping on the ground under the stars. Fortunately, it was summer, and a beautiful clear night. But even in summer nights on Mt. Washington are COLD . But we survived, and now we have this story to tell. I remember the cold, and sleeping on a big, hard rock, but mostly I remember the woods. The smell of the air and the noises and the vastness of it. I didn't think we'd ever get out. Of course, we did. The next morning we found the trail almost immediately and were at the bottom in less than an hour. When Queen Moon asked me to write up a little something for this page, this is what popped into my head. This was my first experience with the "wild" woods. My family had been camping since long before I was born, but we always stayed at campsites, with bathrooms and electricity and running water (because my mother, whose idea of a vacation is NOT camping, insisted on these amenities), never just out in the woods, under the stars. At the time, I was not impressed. I wanted to be back at the campsite, in front of a fire, snuggly and warm. Looking back on it, however, is a fond memory. I have never slept under the stars since, and this is something I would like to do again. Very soon. My only regret is that I did not pay more attention to my surroundings, because I am sure there were fairies there...
Many years later, after I met my husband but before we were married, he and I went to visit his family in Rhode Island. We all went to Arcadia National (or is it a state park? I don't remember) Park in Exeter. There was a whole troop of us, his parents and brother and sister and some relatives visiting from Mexico. We had a wonderful day. His grandmother, who is one of my favorite people in the world, has been researching her family's history since my husband can remember, and there is a graveyard there she wanted to visit, and the remains of a foundation that was once some member of her family's home. It is the most beautiful forest I have ever seen. But then, I think all forests are beautiful, so I might be biased. Perhaps my husband and I will go there someday, and camp, and sleep under the stars, and maybe I'll take pictures. If I do, I'll put them here so you can see them, too.
The graveyard we visited in Exeter was just a small family plot, with maybe a dozen or twenty gravestones. I love old graveyards. I like to read the stones and think about the people buried beneath them. On our honeymoon, my husband and I visited an old graveyard in Sandwich, Massachusetts. I believe it's known as "the Old Cemetary", but don't quote me on that...It was much bigger than the one in Exeter, and we spent a good couple of hours there. The one in Exeter was overgrown with weeds, and many of the stones were in very poor condition. The Sandwich cemetary was very well-kept (the people of Sandwich take much pride in the history of their town!). I remember two graves in particular. One was a triple grave, with a man in the middle, I'm afraid I don't remember his name, and his two wives on either side. Their names were Salome and Mary Pope. Cornelius Eldridge. That was his name. We had a whole life story made up for these three, full of murder and treachery and other soap opera stuff. The other grave was unmarked. It was only a few lines of small white stones, maybe thirty all together. We decided it was either a shipwreck or some sort of plague that struck the town. My money is on the shipwreck, because the graves were unmarked, and it seems likely that they would not be able to identify all the dead. But all the graves there were fascinating, and I hope we will go back there someday...
I regret that I have no pictures to show you of these places. I'm afraid I'm not very good with cameras, either remembering to bring them with me, or taking pictures if I do. But I do have a small collection of pictures of forests and graveyards and other places I would love to visit someday. I keep them in a book under my bed. Maybe someday I'll get around to scanning and posting them here. Below is a list of some interesting places I have discovered...
The Last Homely House
Archaeology, Myth, Magic and Pagan Religion
Robin Hood, Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood
Ghost Stories and Folklore
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last updated September 23, 1998
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