Sunday, August 31, 2014

December 18, 2014 Your 60th Birthday

Dec. 18, 2013

Dear Tom,

Today would be your 60th birthday and today is a day of reflection for your still grieving sister.  I miss you my brother, my friend, and my confidant.

Since you’ve been gone many things have happened.  I am the grandmother of 4 grandsons.  Andy works in the same industry as dad and Nathan is a Roman Catholic priest.  Dan has finally moved home and is able to work at home and I retired from teaching June 2012.

 Carina is a wonderful mother to Liam and wife to Brandon.  She is wonderful about keeping your life story part of her story.  You would be so proud of her.  I feel so sad that you can’t be here to babysit, play, fish, and make pies with Liam. 

 I don’t have any idea how Heather and Tyler are doing because Pris will not give us access to them.  I was in touch with Tyler a couple of years back but haven’t heard from him since.  It’s sad your children are estranged from their family.

I have no contact with David.  I heard he got married and I am very excited for him.  I’ve written him over the years and he never answers.  I’m glad he won’t be lonely and he will have someone to share his life with.  Everyone deserves to be loved.

So many times I wished I could pick up the phone and talk to you.  Things have really changed. Being able to communicate became much easier with the advent of cell phones and social media.  I would tell you to come up and we could go pick blueberries and make pie and jam.  In the spring you could come with your grandson and we could go to Moosehead and teach him to fish.  I would call and tell you I am coming down and we could canoe Bigelow and reminisce about the days of playing pioneers, climbing trees, and catching suckers in the brook.  Maybe you would text me a picture of the beautiful feathers of a pheasant and I would drive down to stew the delicate meat into a delicious sauce like dad used to.  We would be friends on facebook posting pictures of our kids and grandchildren and all the places we visited. Probably sharing a recipe or two to accommodate the bounty of our gardens.
 In the fall you would come stay with me and hunt deer on our 13 acres of property in South Paris, Me.  We would crank up the woodstove and you would have tea with sugar and milk just like grandma use to make for you and I’d have hot cocoa. I’d make you grandma’s chicken and rice soup and you would make an apple pie.  In the morning we’d have French toast the way dad use to make it with think cuts of mom’s homemade bread and plenty of maple syrup from our own trees.  Remember the gigantic maple in the front of our old house?

I finally got rid of my beloved Saab.  She was good to me in all kinds of bad weather.  But I am always on the look out for that antique truck.  One that will haul my Christmas tree and one that my black lab, Othello, and I could bounce down back roads with.  I love back roads.  I think it started in Connecticut when I’d visit grandpa Prouty at the cemetery.  Over the years I have collected the most amazing stories from people who live on those back roads.  I often day dream of taking off in my truck, with Othello, my camera and recorder and making a documentary of the back roads of Me, NH, and Vt.

I go to Vermont twice a year to visit our Prouty relatives.  Dan laughs at me and calls my travels to Vermont my obsession with the dead relatives.  You would be interested in the stories I have written about.  We have a very colorful and rich family history in Vermont.  Quite possibly it is where you would have loved to live.  Beautiful farm land, peaceful, and very traditional values.  I see you there for sure.  My next story to write is a story about our Great Grandmother.  She was a very strong, brave, and determined woman.  I’m fascinated by the events in her life and her unrelenting love of her family. 

My retirement was bittersweet.  For someone who started out as a biology major and wanted to be a librarian, I found teaching to be very rewarding.  I taught over 500 students in my career and I’m still in touch with some of them.  In 2001 I was voted teacher of the year.  I was very excited about that.  It is a vote of confidence from my peers.  My students and parents threw me a big classroom party.  I also wrote and received 2 huge grants from National Semi Conductor.  One for equipment to support a digital history project the other to support integrated science, math, and reading, and writing project.  It was a great achievement that benefited my students and the school.  I wish mom and dad could have been around when I received these awards.  Mom thought going to college was a waste of time and Dad was excited to know I wanted to be teacher. Did you know that mom prevented dad from coming to my graduation?  He did let me know in his own way he was proud of me. 

My dear brother, so much has happened but these are a few of the highlights.  Wish I had more news about your kids. This is the last picture I have of Heather.  I remember Dan making this picture of Heather and I at the same age.  It was uncanny.  When you left they were so small and I haven’t seen them since you’ve been gone.  It makes me sad.  But be rest assured I keep in touch with Carina and they are one cute little family.

Love you Tom and miss you.  I miss what our life could have been and having a brother to talk to.


A Year Later


The paths of past footsteps
have become overgrown with
the passage of each season.
The woodpile stands abandon from
the once energetic woodcutter.
Perennial gardens are left unattended
and deprived of the loving care
of its previous owner.
The dirt driveway once eroded
by the daily travel of your Chevy Pick Up
is now the breeding grounds for
a community of thriving weeds.
Your children are left with
remnants of the past
and echoes of your footsteps.

Symbols remain scattered through
your once private domain.
A cup hanging on a stake in the garden,
unused since the last time you needed it
to quench your thirst, after tilling the soil
around the strawberry bed.
A woodcutting bench lies next to
a fallen tree  that was intended for
next year’s wood supply.
The red and black mackinaw and cap
hang on hook inside the back door,
waiting for the hunter to stalk
the autumn woods.
It is in the silence of the woods
from which tall tales and stories
vibrate from familiar sites.
The Indians who are buried underneath
the large hemlock tree,
wisdom of Bathroom Billy,
farmer’s who created the pastures
and who’s fine workmanship created
the rock walls that frame their masterpiece.
Isolated walls covered with aging moss and lichen
symbolize the life of a man,
my dad, who once possessed the same feeling,
and love, like those before him, for nature,
the land, and the ancestors before him.
Your land, your sacred possession is a
testament to your children who once sat
and listened to the sounds of the distant brook,
or deer walking cautiously as subtle breezes,
or listening to private legends and tales.
You are now silent as those moments
Stored away forever in our memories.
Thankfully, we have inherited his wisdom
but it is the Indians of long ago, Bathroom Billy,
and the farmers who have inherited his footsteps,
his gentle manner, and made the legend of the land
ever larger.
It is now,
in the cool crisp November air,
the first anniversary of his death,
that I believe you have come to rest inside
a storybook, that you so carefully “wrote”
for us over the years.
You are now a part of the cast of characters
that comes alive in my thoughts and gives me
pride in my past and hope towards my future
and stories that will go on….

Now God keeps you wrapped in love for eternity.

Nancy Prouty March
Nov. 1985

Camping at Island Pond


Island Pond

Dark cumulonimbus clouds
descend over the lake
pointed firs stand black
against the darkness
of the dawn.

A single loon
wails in the distance
calling to the coming night,
“All is at peace, all is calm
in this fading day.”

Reflections of light
from a cabin across the way
illuminating the gentle ripples
quietly tumbling onto
the vacant shore.

The fire crackles
sparks escape in darkness
the smell of pine or maple
relaxes the senses and
thoughts of sleep are eminent.

I Love A Good Paddle in the Rain

I love a Good Paddle in the Rain

It was the first time I paddled in the rain
as mid morning showers swirled around
my kayak in concentric circles and
bounced off the hard surface of my kayak.

Breaking the silence of the cove, high in
the treetops a bald eagle warns his mate
of oncoming potential predators and she
swoops down
A full wing span cuts through the air delivering
her to a nest of branches and her two fledglings.

The rain picks up and I paddle to the edge and seek
refuge under an umbrella of hemlock branches.
In the distance I watch a mother loon carrying her
baby on her back.  Suddenly, the dad pops up from
the depths of the lake and joins them. They swim
and bob on the waves made by an aluminum boat
 piloted by two old fishing buddies.

As I make my way around a small island I hear
screeching from high above.  Eagles. I look behind me
 and I see the family of loons close by.
I worry about the loon chicks, will the eagles
decide to attack and swoop up the little one?
the male loon breaks its silence and sends
an alarm with its signature tremolo.

I make my way to the other side watching
painted turtles swimming through the water
as if they were paddling in an aquarium.  Every
so often partially submerged driftwood, , looks like
a mythological wingless dragon guarding the
edges of the lake and daring a paddler not
to come too close.

Yes, I like paddling in the rain.
July 2014 draft 1

There are Times When

There Are Times When
By Nancy March

There are times when
A good book’s character
Keeps me up at night
Wondering …

There are times when
A song’s lyrics
Makes my heart pump with
Song …

There are times when
A painting’s details
Gives me pause and

There are times when
the hand of friendship
walks with me down the “highway”
Reassuring …

There are times when…

I have a lot of writing to post that is residing in my notebook.  Since the cancer I have many ups and downs and writing has been a saving grace.  I realized recently that quite possibly my life here on earth is short.  My mom and her mother died when they were 67.  That time is sneaking up on me and I want to share what has been a childhood of great memories and a life of ups and downs.  My life is marked with great sorrows as well. 

The following writings are a series of writing called Writing Towards Home.  I began these writings many years ago as an exercise  for a class I was taking on poetry, with my favorite poet/teacher, Georgia Heard. 

These are rough drafts and always in the process of revision and editing.

Home is
The Brook
Eagleville, Ct.

Home is the playground provided by the natural brook running through our
property.  It is the green/gray moss that pads my bare feet as I squat and
watch for speckled native brook trout about to tug on my line.  Other times it
is the coolness of the cold water spinning like a whirlpool wrapping itself
 around my ankles as I bend to catch a fish by its hind legs.  It’s about
damming it up and letting the water rise into a  pool deep enough to dunk
my long curly hair or float aimlessly on an inner tube kicking my feet and
sliding my fingers through the water.  On hot humid days we shared our
“spa” with our friends and neighbors.   Our imaginations run wild with ideas for a water game to keep us cool and entertained.

 In early spring ice clung to the edges of the brook like fragile brittle glass sitting on the edge of the shelf.   The water was too cold for bare feet but just right for kid sized waders .  April signaled my brother and I to grab our fishing poles and a can of worms and stand in the brook with hopes of catching sweet pink trout that we would gut, roll in cornbread, and fry in a cast iron skillet for dinner.  Later in the spring my dad would begin his ritual of planting a vegetable garden.  My brother and I dammed the brook close to the garden and waited for the yearly spawning of suckers  coming up stream.  We’d capture them in our nets and use them as fertilizer for the corn and pumpkins growing in the garden.

 The brook was where my first wildflower lessons with my dad began.  In the early spring yellow trout lilies bloomed along the banks of the brook.  Among the decaying tree branches and leaves jack-in-the-pulpits, scarlet trillium, blood roots, and lady slippers graced and framed the swollen banks of the brook.  Bright green skunk cabbage illuminated the stark brown ground beneath our feet.   The beauty of the colorful flowers and the cool, crisp, clean water seemed to be in direct contrast to the boundaries of the woodlands. 

 The brook was also a home to many unusual “pets”.  Endless water striders gliding over the water’s surface, crayfish lying beneath slippery rocks, and an occasional water snake sneaking around the water’s edge.  By far my favorites were the frogs and pollywogs that made our brook their home.  Mr. Croaker, my very large bullfrog, was  a playmate and confident until a large rain storm carried him away. 

The brook has been home - place of wonder, imagination, play, and life lessons for all seasons. It has become part of me.