We’ve spent the last week and a half moving into a beautiful country house in Salisbury, New Hampshire. It’s one of those glorious old houses, the kind that’ve been standing for over a hundred years and have secrets and stories and ghosts lurking undiscovered in the myriad cracks and crannies. There’s narrow corridors and hidden rooms, staircases and tiny offices where you’d least expect them. Dusty old bookshelves and a massive cast iron stove in the kitchen downstairs. Tall ceilings and creaking floorboards. In short, every time I explore it I find something new.
There’s a barn attached to the back of the house, with a little door opening from one of the back rooms into a loft full of hay. If I had a favorite part of the house, this would be it. I love the sweet warm smell of the hay and the cows, the gentle clucking of the chickens, and the odd bits and pieces of things packed up in the loft. A few cats can usually be found up there, along with a big black lab who seems to be in love with life, people, cows, and the world in general.
I’ve moved into a secret chamber.
Ok, ok, it’s technically a closet. But it’s a large closet, with a diamond shaped door, dark wood panels, and a smaller door that opens into our living room. It’s dark and mysterious, and in every way fantastic. I’ve made it my own. My books and journals are on a shelf, my artwork is plastered against the walls, my instruments are propped in the corner, and I’ve hung a hammock. What more could anyone want?
But community has done more to make this place home than the coziness of my cave (closet), or the mystery of the house ever could. There have been innumerable fantastic houses over the course of our travels. Dozens of comfortable places to work and write and play music. But here, for the first time in a long time, I have a wonderful community of close friends nearby. The moment we arrived, our dear friends gifted us with more delicious chocolate zucchini cake than we could possibly stuff down, helped us get settled in, and welcomed us with open arms. It’s been incredible to have everyone close by for the first time in around five years.
We’re settled in now, but we’re busier than ever. It’s odd, how we always have a busier schedule when we’re back in the States than we ever have on the road. Or maybe it’s just that we have scheduled events now, where before it was all rather spontaneous. The boys are taking music classes, and my old fiddle teacher, Ryan Thomson, is taking me on again. He’s one of my fiddle heroes. He’s won several awards, wrote one of the most popular books on fiddling in the States and Canada (The Fiddler’s Almanac), and plays five or six instruments besides the fiddle. You can check out his site here. To say I’m excited about taking lessons with him again would be one of the biggest understatements I’ve ever made. That starts tomorrow. I’ve been busy, busy, and I suspect I will be for a while. I’m loving it, even if I’m a little exhausted. It’s good to be home.