Friday, August 11, 2006


In Which We Talk of Least and Most...

We're home now.

I'm still in that conflicting frame of mind that always follows a good vacation--the frame of mind where you want to magically transport your entire life to where you just were because you hate to go but at the same time you're really glad to be home.

We packed a lot in a week and there's more to tell (and show), but for now I'm just too wiped. Because of assorted delays, we didn't get home til about 2 AM the other morning and I feel like I've been at work ever since. Actually, I have been at work ever since. We're trying to move our production schedule up a bit so essentially we're producing two complete issues at once. One issue is grueling enough on its own; two issues simultaneously--especially if you're still in re-entry mode like me--well, it renders me more incoherent than I normally am.

I'm going to try to catch up on many things this weekend--posting some sleep, getting to blog earlier, mowing the dog, washing the lawn, that sort of stuff--but for now, all I can muster for you is:

My favorite thing about being home:

Depending on your sound card, you will hear either faint static in the background, or actual wind in the canopy of the forest on my family's hill.

I've been a lot of places and heard a lot of noises in nature, but somehow no other breeze sounds quite the same as the breeze that blows in the place where I'm from. Next to the laughter of my kids, it is my favorite sound in all the world. It is certainly the most peaceful sound I know.

My least favorite thing about being home:

When I was little, we were camping up on the hill--not far from where I was listening to that breeze, actually. I was drinking a Coke and as I leaned against an old stone boundary fence to take a breather, an enormous yellow- and black-colored snake emerged from the underbrush, and with a speed I couldn't believe, slithered between my legs. It disappeared into a crack in the stone fence but--to quote my Dad--the way I carried on, one would have supposed the crack that snake had gone into was my own.

I dropped the Coke and leaped straight up about 40 feet in the air, shrieking at a pitch that caused dogs all across northern New England to cock their heads. When I came back down, I touched the ground only long enough to launch myself up my Dad's leg, climbing like a cat until I was more or less balanced on top of his head.

It took a while to settle me down, and I refused to go near the fence again, which was a problem since our camp site was right on the other side of the fence. By "right on the other side" I mean about 300 yards away, but for a snake that fast, that was no distance at all. I also made my Dad retrieve the fallen Coke can (it had been the last one in the cooler, and screaming my teeth out had, for some reason, made me thirsty). I was pleased to see not much had spilled out, but dismayed to discover--about two seconds too late--that a bee had found time to fly into the can.

Suffice it to say, I don't miss snakes. Which is a problem if you have a son who finds them fascinating, and who has eyes like a hawk, and who can yell "Dad, watch out for the snake!" in such a way as to cause you to shriek and leap as though you were 5 all over again.

Except now you have a son who will not only alert you to the snake, but will pick it up and bring it to you, instructing you to take photos and video all the while.


Which, incidentally, is why the video is on its side. I had taken a vertical picture just a second earlier and when I switched the camera to mpeg mode, I was a little too preoccupied with the proximity of the snake to turn the camera level again.

Hey, could happen to anyone.

And with that, I wish you a breeze-filled, snake-free weekend.

I'll have more to tell you next week.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

Those videos are AWESOME. Your face conveys so much of what you're feeling and what you remember when you hear that breeze! Is that your father in the background of the snake video? I can hear someobody else talking, and it's fun to imagine a voice to go with all the images and stories of your father.

Can't wait to hear/see/read more!
Welcome home, MM. At least, your other home.
"all right time to let him go... let him go..."

very funny... glad to hear you had a wonderful time!!!
I heard it!

I miss that sound...
you sound a little tense in the snake video-- hahahah!! so I assume he received his snake-handling gene from your wife, since you do not share this particular talent?

love the tree sounds..
Okay Indiana Jones, it was only a little garter snake! :-) Aaah, I feel that way about spiders, so who am I to talk? Loved the videos. So, have any stories about BB taking advantage of your fear of snakes when you were kids? Somehow that seems right up his alley. :-)
i'm sorry, i'd like to point out an error in the picture / vid of thomas? he appears to be wearing a shirt that says, quite prominently, YANKEES on it. just thought you might not be aware...
you climbing up your dads head..reminded me of swimming with the manna rays, years youngest, a toehead then..about 5, climbed up my husband and latched on to his neck with her thighs...I thought he would drown...have a picture of it that makes me snort with laughter. This summer on our sailing was almost a repeat..this time a big Grouper fish...and maggie is 13... I laughed so hard when she realized that she couldn't climb daddy anymore.Priceless.Great story.
I did hear the sound of the wind. You are seriously making me yearn for the old homestead I grew up in practically my entire young life. It took about a day to hike up through the hillside and into the woods of the mountain when you have a ragtag tike like myself following at the heels of my Dad, Grams, and the excited black lab, Berry. It should still be there but there was this steep cliff where you could dig and find many types of rocks/crystals. But the view was gorgeous. Oh, and digging for arrowheads is another story. Hell, around my grandparents' old homestead, you'd find them turn up in a field or in the creek bed after a good hard rain or flood.

Happy to have you back "home", MM. Oh and I had to chuckle just a little bit at your almost anxious urging of Thomas to let the garter snake go. You remind me of my Mom; she can't stand snakes or cockroaches. Major heebie-jeebies.
So I'm guessing you aren't going to be going to see a certain Samuel L. Jackson movie coming out soon...

As always, love your stories!!
I'm sure Thomas knows to stay away from the dangerous snakes, but it still freaks me out that he picks snakes up!

That first video was great. I loved that sound. There's a sound like that at Lake Cumberland, which I mentioned on one of your other vacation posts. It's a crazy feeling when the wind is rustling all those trees. It makes you feel so small, and yet so connected at the same time.
For the record, yes, the other voice in the snake video is my Dad, and like his old pal God, he knows the name of every living thing--tree and bush and all that walks or crawls or flies--on his hill. He identified the garter snake instantly as non-poisonous and, to my chagrin, had been showing Thomas all week how to handle critters without hurting himself or the critter. It still freaked me out too, but neither he nor the snake were harmed in the making of this vacation.
Welcome home MM, Thomas the great snake handler, Brownie and HLS. Hope you all had a wonderful time.

My family and I just returned from a week in the wilds of Ontario, Canada. Heard a similar wind through the trees there too.

And my son, who's terrified of things like dark disney-type rides, picked up every bug, frog, worm and assorted other squigglies on the ground. Go figure.

Good to have you back, and good to be back myself.
I know there are a few poisonous snakes in New England, but I've lived in MA for all of my 49 years and never seen a wild snake that wasn't a garter snake(harmless and small-Ive seen many babies no bigger than earthworms and never one longer than 2 feet.). I've seen hundreds of them at least, and handled a few. But I've never encountered any other kind on the wild.

Did you see any live foxes?
I just relized that your dad is Fritz Wetherbee! Well at least he looks like , probably sounds like, and most definately has stories like. I love that guy, he knows the strangest stories about NH.
Your blog is wonderful. I got here from the NY Hack site when she had nothing to write about one day and told everyone on her blog to go read your series of stories about rescuing your dog. I'm so glad she did. The stories are richly satisfying and the writing is terrific. Thank you.
ArtLad's baseball team is the Yankees, so I'm not surprised to see him in such a shirt. Until he is old enough to fully grasp just how evil the Yankees are, I think his current wardrobe choice is forgivable.

"Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?"

"Asps. Very dangerous. You go first."
Boy, that's why I miss white pines so much -- when the breeze stirred them up they made a sound that always reminded me of the ocean.

There's a Japanese saying that if you want to invite the wind, you plant pines...
That sound reminds me of the scene in Phenomenon, when Kyra Sedgwick's character finds comfort in the wind blowing through the trees.

Hey, even Superman's got Kryptonite.
I grew up on 100 or so acres in a log cabin by a semi-large river in Georgia. When I was married, my parents sold all the land and the house. You breeze reminds me of a home I can't go back to. How wonderful of you to share. Thanks, MM.
"Snakes Are a Pain"-a story of male bonding in the Magazine family

MM(in Bill Cosby voice):Snakes? You get out of here! This is not your forest, this is my forest!

Artlad:Hey Dad, look what I caught!

BB: what did you catch kid, ass strep? BWAHAHAHA!

MM:(screams and faints)

Papa: Ayuh, youah Fathah is some afraid of snakes, by Gorry!

BB: amd he's an asswipe, too! Bwahahaha!

Jenny the Fox: come on chicken heart, scare me to death!

Samuel Jackson: Magazine family! You get the *** out of here! This is not your **********ing movie, this is *my* **********ing movie!

Blazey: Woof! Woof!
mmm, the wind thru the pines - one of the best sounds ever.

poor little snake. dad and mom always told us to hold them behind the head and support 'em so they weren't just hanging there. grams told us to leave them the hell alone.

glad you had such a wonderful time! (and i'm glad, too, that your dad's arm seems to be recovering.)
We had a trip back "home" this summer and there really is nothing like it. (home being Nova Scotia) Our adventures took place at beaches and on sand bars. I know exactly what you mean about the sounds and smells and also about being glad to be home.
Love love love your amazing tales.
I love that sound too. I did not watch the snake video, because just reading that bit was enough to make me raise my feet off the floor even though it's completely irrational.

welcome home.
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