The lobsters scream when you put them in the pot. You tell yourself it’s just the steam escaping the shells. Their eyes are clear when you put them on the plates. You pretend not to see, and suck the meat out of their little crunchy legs.
There are tracks in the fresh snow across your lawn. Even though Uncle Robin taught you tracks before you could make tracks of your own, you don’t recognize these.
Everyone at the farmer’s market knows your name. You have never been to this farmer’s market. The potatoes have too many eyes, and they watch you walk by.
You never thought you’d hope it’s only a moose outside at night.
Giffords announces new flavors! Coffee Mint Moose Tracks (a new spin on your old favorite,) Heath Bar Beaver Den, Bloody Bear Tracks… it’s raspberry swirl, we promise.
People don’t go near the barn on the old Michaud place, even though it’s been abandoned for years. Something about it being condemned, and not by the government.
Something keeps bobbing up in the bay, bright red. It’s too big to be a buoy. No one’s claimed it.
The trees on Schoodic are shifting. We haven’t had a stiff breeze for days.
You can’t read the name of that new fishing boat. Everyone tells you something different when you ask.
The painted tracks to the UMaine stadium are red. Weird, they’ve been blue for decades. You haven’t heard anything about a hockey game tonight either.
I-95 just keeps going. And going. And going. It’s getting dark. What mile marker are we at again?
It hasn’t gone above zero in a month. The wind and snow get through the windows and under the door, even though you had the house winterproofed in the fall. You don’t remember what it’s like to be warm, even next to the wood stove. You don’t recall lighting it, now you think on it.
The blackflies are thick as fog. They are in your eyes, in your ears, your mouth, your nose. You feel faint from blood loss. They are under your clothes.
question: is new england haunted?
answer: it feels that way sometimes.
i. are you afraid of the woods?
are you afraid of branches scraping together, skeleton ribcages, playing a dark twisted hymn to shout at the sky? in the middle of the night, pine needles drift to the ground and the wind howls and whistles through the threadbare trees.
you know it’s trying to tell you something, but you’re too afraid to listen.
ii. are you afraid of the sunset?
are you afraid of the clouds, billowing up in shades of orange and grey, of smoke that has lilted from fireplaces of wood cabins tucked safely away into thickets of woods you don’t dare look into? do you think that there’s something creeping there, far beyond the thickets of thorns, deep into the places where even foxes won’t skulk away to?
you know every night the sun is returning to its grave, but you don’t speak those words aloud.
iii. are you afraid of the ocean?
are you afraid of the way the sea laps at the shore, sneakily and repetitively, churning over stones? you know that they’re too smooth for a reason. you spend your days with your coat zipped over your nose as the winter tries to infiltrate your breath and the salt air leaks through onto your tongue.
you know the sea holds secrets, but you aren’t sure you want to know them.
iv. are you afraid of the snowfall?
are you afraid of the ceaseless winters, the squawking black birds, the relentless change of the howling wind at your window? do you watch the moon as it follows your car, keeping a watchful eye as you disappear into the mountains, the radio garbled. the wind whistles and rattles your car as you remember with a spine chilling start that you are not alone.
you know that spring will come again, but the raven’s eyes are full of death.
v. are you afraid of new england?
are you afraid of the white mansions on the hills, peeling paint drifting in little chips to the frozen-over ground? does it bring a chill to your bones, thinking back on the horror of those witch trials, only a few states and centuries away? can you hear the wails of the widows in new bedford, waiting on husbands who will never come home, pacing their death on their overlooks, eyes to the cruel sea? are you in terror every night as the trees scrape their fingernails at your window, whispering to come play?
conclusion: don’t be afraid. not while you’re still alive.
Owning a horse means spending as much time with them as is possible. Owning a young horse means spending that, plus some time that isn’t really possible but you make it work anyway.
Like waking up at 5am to face frosted, foggy sunrises to make sure her stall is clean and her daily training session gets done even though you have out of state doctors appointments all day today that will keep you away from the barn.