It was an unlikely thing to do, foolish, really. An accountant with workaholic tendencies and an iron-clad hyper-responsibility clause in my contract with life, I’d spent thirty years in one office or another managing finances and administration for both my own company and those of my clients. Thirty years of pressure and stress. Thirty years of fluorescent lights and rarely seeing the light of day. Thirty years of balance sheets and endless columns of numbers. Until one day I said, “Enough.”
What happened next seems a dream to me. Rather than spending endless days in an office processing paper and managing details, I spent brief, golden days on an old New England farm. Acting as a docent, often in historical dress, and serving as writer-in-residence working on my ninth book, I gave house tours of the 1797 Peabody-Fitch farm, known as Narramissic, in South Bridgton, Maine.
My days there were gentle days filled with pleasant interactions interspersed with quiet times of chores and writing. I met people from all across the country, each having some tie to Bridgton, either strong or tenuous. From each person I gained new information or insights, while providing my own for them. So many conversations about history, humanity, philosophy. From young children to “old folks” and everyone in between, we shared stories and a moment of shared history. A brief intersection on a road unexpectedly shared between pilgrims on the journey.
Far more unexpected for me, was a very personal intersection of two lives. A Narramissic love story three years in the making. In the quiet house at the end of the lane with the purple mountains etched against the sky and in the peaceful grove of the granite quarry, love slipped quietly in, transforming two lives.
For me, my time at Narramissic gave me a chance to reconnect with myself, to take deep breaths of farm-fresh air, to dream in a wicker chair on the porch as I gazed at the ever-changing, always perfect view, and a rare chance to quietly ponder the future. To watch groundhogs, deer, porcupines, and families of turkeys. To watch thermal vortexes lift and swirl loose hay in the field. And to dream deeply in the quietude of the country.
That summer is to me, looking back, a halcyon time when the rough waves of day-to-day living were calmed, allowing time for the full sweetness of life to be delivered in full abundant measure.
As I sat on the porch on my last day as docent, I did not want those precious days to end. And yet, I knew they must. To gain the full measure of abundance from this time, it must end. It is the way of all things. In looking back now, I see the mountains in their glory, bathed in golden light. And I know now in looking back down the dusty country lane how those halcyon days led to all the goodness and wonder that came to be in the time beyond.
When it came my time to leave the farm to walk down whatever path lay before me. I left feeling calmer, more grounded, and no longer a lonely pilgrim on the road. Narramissic is etched beautifully across my soul and woven deep into the timeless love story that lights my life.
Caroline D. Grimm is the author of the Voices of Pondicherry series, telling the stories of the town of Bridgton, Maine, originally called Pondicherry.