Wilderness is Paradise Enough

IMG_9163This post is a bit late, but then, every day is Valentine’s Day around here. In the past, when Charley was the Director of Rhode Island Boys’ Indoor Track, mid-February was a busy time for him. We rarely went out on Valentine’s Day. He recently retired from his fifty years of track duties and so, this year we made actual plans to celebrate Lovey Day (that’s what Charley calls it). Much to Roxie’s dismay, we decided not to have a cozy meal at home. Charley felt a getaway was in order and made reservations at the Weekapaug Inn. (He wanted me to get away from the mystery book I was writing. This involved my putting the computer to sleep, taking a shower, brushing my hair and donning clean clothes. Deodorant and toothpaste also came into play.) We packed an overnight bag  and took the short drive to Westerly.

The Weekapaug Inn dates back to 1899.  www.weekapauginn.com  Situated directly on the Atlantic Ocean, it was damaged by the Great Hurricane of 1938. (Hurricanes wreak havoc with ocean-side real estate around here.) The owners, Frederick and Phebe Buffum,  rebuilt farther back in a more sheltered  area behind the dunes. Four generations of the Buffum Family cared for the Inn until 2007  when it was closed.  In 2010 it was restored and opened once again as a four-season resort.

Now, the weather here in New England has been very fickle this year. We’ve endured a record-breaking hot summer and a record-breaking cold winter. The weekend we were there was well below freezing and the coldest it’s been in thirty-two years. Needless to say, we did not venture out on the beach in search of sea glass nor did we choose to go bird-watching. Instead, we had a lovely dinner in the dining room and sat for a while in one of the spacious sitting rooms. We could have spent time with a jigsaw puzzle or played chess or checkers or perused the many nature books displayed all around. There was no organized stargazing session that evening, but the telescope was available and pointed out to the skies over the pond for guests to use. We chose just to sit and cuddle in front of the fireplace.

In the early morning hours, I awoke, dressed and wandered around while everyone was still sleeping. I do this a lot. I’m very curious.

Once on our kind-of-pre-honeymoon at La Fonda in Sante Fe, New Mexico, I was wandering around the hotel roof waiting to take pictures of the sunrise over the town. I had thrown on a very short, terry cloth robe over my birthday suit and  hadn’t thought to take keys. All of the doors automatically locked behind me as I made my way up to the rooftop. I blissfully took photos and then, attempted to return to our room. Not happening! I climbed over the fence around the pool and then jumped from balcony to balcony until I arrived at what I assumed was ours. (They all looked alike from outside.) I quietly banged on the glass doors. A sleepy Charley opened the curtains to find me happily waving at him in my very short, terry robe (with my naked butt hanging out – I’ll spare you the selfie!). “What are you doing out there?” he asked somewhat bewildered. (We weren’t married yet and so this was a bit of an initiation into what his life was to become.) All I could think of was Emerson asking a similar question, “What are you doing in there?” looking into the jail cell of his friend Thoreau  who answered “What are you doing out there?”

But I digress……..

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And so I found myself out on the back deck of The Weekapaug Inn overlooking Quonokataug Pond as the sun was rising.  It being quite frosty and me not wearing a coat or boots, (my butt, however, was properly covered) I wisely chose not to mosey on down to the lawn chairs frozen solid  into the snow below. I chatted with some of the staff setting up for the day and returned to our room (I had a key this time.) to wake Charley with tales of my adventures. I shared the photos and we went to the dining room to have a lovely breakfast.

IMG_0449On arriving home, Roxie met us at the door, irate that we had once again gone off leaving her alone to babysit ZuZu. I’m sure you’ll hear about this from her at a later IMG_1012time. But for now the computer is once again turned on and I’m back to  writing in our own cozy home here in the woods of South County.

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the bough

A Flask of Wine, A Book of Verse—and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness—

And Wilderness is Paradise enow

from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam  Edward FitzGerald’s translations of the Persian poet, Omar Khayyam

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97 thoughts on “Wilderness is Paradise Enough

    1. Mary,It was -32 degrees F! But the fireplaces were warm. this past week I have been going through a crisis of writer’s doubt. Every time I go to edit a chapter, I decide it isn’t good enough and start to rewrite it. At this point it will never get published. Maybe tomorrow will be different???? I have two books of my mom’s – Through the Looking Glass and the Rubiayat! I loved the illustrations in each when I was young.

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      1. Brrr!
        Sorry about your writing crisis. I know it well. Maybe you need to take a break from it and work on something else for a couple of days. You will come back to the editing with fresh eyes and less doubt. Good luck.

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      1. Good morning, Lynn.Thanks1 I’ve been up and “chatting”for a few hours. Right now I have to get dressed (at least from the waist up) to Skype with my friends in China. But when I come back, I’ll visit your blog. Take care and have a lovely Saturday. Love, Clare

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    1. Luckily it was July when we were in New Mexico (very hot), so there was more danger of getting a sunburn in my nether regions than frost bite. We didn’t get a chance to use the Inn’s telescope but do intend to return. Are you interested in Astronomy? Charley and I belong to a group called Skyscrapers and I’ve written a few posts about the night skies. My mystery book mentions the Perseids and Leonides Meteor Showers in the first chapter. Still have a lot to learn about astronomy.

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      1. Love learning about the planets and have a collection of various documentaries about the universe. My favourite has always been the Sky at Night though not as much now Patrick Moore has passed on. I have absolutely no knowledge where anything is when I look up at the sky though (shame)

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  1. How lovely of Charley to take you away for Valentines! Sometimes we writers do need to be dug out of our writing caves. Funny you should mention the record-breaking temps, we’re having the hottest summer in years down here in New Zealand.

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    1. In the winter I really enjoy hibernating. I think I could be a great recluse if allowed to decide.But family and friends have some say in the matter. Yes, record-breaking temperatures and weird weather patterns seem to be the norm this year. We’re just happy the snow has been kept to a minimum.

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  2. Ooooo, Ethel! You had some splainin to do!! Glad you took your key, and clothes this time!!
    You actually shut off the computer??? And took a shower???? You must really love that man!!

    Poor Roxie! I’m crying in my tea for her as I type. So put upon, she is!
    Love, Lucy

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    1. Yes,Lucy, the moon did not shine over the pond last Monday as it did in Sante Fe so many years ago. I am now back to my “stinky writing habits” here at home. Butttt! There’s always Saint Paddy’s Day! Puleeeze! That cat does not need more encouragement to make me feel guilty and miserable. Love, Ethel

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    1. Yes, I can be a bit intense when I’m writing (even when it’s a children story). Charley knows when it’s time to air me out for the sake of my own sanity. We try to appreciate the time we’re given and it seems the days just get shorter and shorter, so every minute counts. Thanks for stopping by and now I’m going to visit you in your enchanted garden.

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  3. Brillian, Clare! I love that part about your curiosity that brought you to the roof, you are a fantastic woman! I am smiling now…pictures are so great that I hardly can find words! I love your story! Have a great weekend!

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  4. Wow, a lot going on in your delightful post. Love the pics of your cozy get-away and Roxie and ZuZu. The story about you in your bathrobe is hilarious. When we travel, I am one to get up early and roam around with a cup of coffee, as I enjoy early mornings. I have not had the experience of being locked out of my room, while in my bathrobe. 😊 I am glad you are taking the time to get away and see some sights.

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    1. And it wasn’t even a full length bathrobe! But in my defense, I was going up to the roof to the pool area. Not only was I locked out of my room, but I was up on the roof locked out of the hotel. And I hate to admit it, but this was not one of the worst situations I’ve gotten myself into – by far! Thanks, see you at your place soon

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  5. What a beautiful place and you just brought it right into my study where I am staring at a lawn that is blinking in the sunlight wondering where it’s snow-blanket went this early in the year! Chapeau to Charley for such a lovely trip for Lovey Day (I am so stealing that name) …. I love your description of you being torn away from your writing and hurredly prettifying for a stealaway. I haven’t explored the coast at all yet but i will – maybe it will wait til I’m back in April (I shall be in Europe for three weeks from the end of March) but I just know I am in for a treat of treats. Your story of leaping from balcony to balcony in the almost buff had me in stitches. Lovely to see you again … there are only so many hours in the day and I know yours are full of substantial writing but it is just a treat when you venture onto your blog 🙂

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      1. Not yet …. Last Autumn Two Brains had a big clear done and I fear the yard is in shock …. It was necessary as there were trees too close to the house and the man took the largest shrubs because it made the job easier. I urgently need advice on replanting to bring some Spring colour …. Next year there will be many daffodils because I will have planted them and crocus and snowdrops too if they’ll grow. Violets under the birch trees and cyclamen – I don’t know if I’ll be here to see them but it should be the beautiful space it deserves to be 🙂

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      2. There are so many beautiful spring shrubs here in New England. If you are here in May, you’ll have to come and see the azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom at the Kinney place in South Kingstown. And don’t forget lilacs! Especially French lilacs.The Botanical Gardens in Boston are amazing in the springtime. Bring a picnic lunch and stay for the day. You’ll get some wonderful ideas there.
        Another amazing place is the Heritage Gardens and Museum on Cape Cod. I wrote a blog post about it and it makes a wonderful day trip.

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      3. I will certainly be here in May and possibly will have my youngest daughter here too for a little while as she will be turning 21 and I would rather like to spending it with her. I am here more than not until mid-October. After that we are almost certainly in Grenoble for 6 months but we intend to be back again next year for a long or short time depending on what USCIS allow me. Your advices over places ot visit and find azaleas rhoddies and lilac (who can EVER overlook lilac) and other delights is gratefully accepted and of course I will snuffle out your blog post on the Heritage Gardens and Museum. If we can make a rendez-vous in South Kingstown all the better for me, greedy me 🙂

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      4. You and whoever you want to bring are welcome in our home any time. Just tell me when you can visit.(Hopefully more than once- greedy me!) I would love to take you to the Kinney Azaleas in May and perhaps a picnic on the beach? You are not greedy at all!

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      5. I will get my trip to Europe out of the way .. I think I will be back around 15th April for round two and then we have a date. I LOVE picnics, beaches and azaleas so it’s an irrisistible invitation. When we make arrangements we can work out if The Brains will come but The Bean would certainly be miffed to miss out 🙂

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      6. I leave on 24th with Bean and Brain for a week in France then he returns with Bean and I go in without her to England … This will be a test not if their relationship but rather how much my people really want to see me and how much is thinly veiled desire to see the canine!

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    1. It is the fine, smooth glass that washes up on shore, usually in ivories, blues or greens. Much of it is probably from bottles and such thrown at one time into the ocean and then worn down from aeons of ocean battering. People use it to make jewelry and it looks lovely wrapped in thin strands of silver. I belong to a crafter’s guild (Fayerweather House -they sell my books and note cards) and some of the crafters give classes on how to make the jewelry. So happy you asked.

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      1. Thanks for explaining that Clare. I had images of sheets of ice appearing like plates of glass – ah the imagination 🙂
        Coloured glass weathered by the sea is wonderful to find (and much better than the disconcerting plastic flotsam and jetsam). Each piece has a thousand stories stored inside. I can imagine some beautiful jewellery coming from them.

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  6. The Weekapaug Inn looks like the place to be when it’s cold and snowy outside. How beautifully cozy, Lovely post, Calre. I really enjoyed reading about your early morning strolls (on both occasions!) and looking at your fabulous photos. It must be a great coastline, especially in the summer.
    I’m intriged by the place names, too. I imagine they’re old Indian ones (Quonokataug and Weekapaug)?

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    1. All Indian names. I live in the state of Rhode Island, town of South Kingstown,County of Washington, Village of West Kingston, neighborhood of Usquepaug. Seriously! Oh, and people down here in the southernmost part of the state refer to it as South County. We have a handful of counties and not one of them is called South County.There is no South County! It’s all in our minds. I think I’ll do a post some day about the Indian background in this section of the state.Thanks, Millie.

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    1. He asked me to marry him on my 51st Birthday and I said “No”. We had been living together for a few years and that was just fine with me. I’m glad I finally said “Yes”. We are really good for each other and remind each other of that fact every day. He’s a very patient man, I must tell you.He says I make him laugh all the time. (and I really don’t even try????)

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      1. We actually knew each other when we started teaching at the same middle school. I was 21 and he was 22 and engaged. We did corridor duty together every day. He was transferred to another middle school and I eventually ended up at the high school. We didn’t see each other for 25 years and met by accident. He was divorced and I had never married. We ended up together and to this day I say to him, “How did we not know we were perfect for each other when we stood together in that corridor every day for three years?” And he always answers in all sincerity, “Clare, you were weird.”

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