Read an Excerpt
"Not long ago, I met an old man at a wedding. He inquired where I lived and I told him I had bought Mary's farm up on top of Beech Hill. His rheumy eyes grew animated with recognition, oh, yes, he said, he had spent many a summer day on that farm. He especially remembered the lightning in this high place. "Does the phone still jump off the wall in a lightning storm?" he asked. I told him I'd never seen that happen. "Well," he went on, still clearly in the grip of these summer memories. "I can remember one storm, oh, it was a doozy. The cow was standing under the apple tree and a bolt came down and struck her. Dead as a mackerel!"
"Most of our winter storms are northeasters, which last two or three days. My house, perched as it as atop a high hill, became like a ship at sea in a furious storm. For days, the dim light outside revealed only horizontal snow racing past the windows. The deafening sound of the wind-a cacophony of screaming, howling, whistling-kept me awake more than one night. During one storm, I watched in alarm as snow piled against the window pane like water rising. Daylight did not come through that window again for weeks."
"This house has been here since 1762, a history even longer than our nation's. A young man who worked on the land here once uncovered a silver buckle in his digging. He polished it and framed it and gave it to Mary and she hung it on the wall in her kitchen. When I bought the farm, he came by and left me a brown bag full of pottery shards, buttons and glass chips, things he found here, things he felt should come back here."