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My Turn: Rooted in place, and happy

  • Eliza Lachance of Sutton takes in the scenery at Clark Lookout in New London. Sol Solomon

For the Monitor
Published: 9/15/2019 6:45:09 AM

I have quite a few relatives and friends, all fellow seniors, who love to travel. As much as I enjoy learning about new parts of the world through their eyes, I no longer have any desire to join them. My wanderlust has wandered off. All I want to do now is stay home. For me, home is one of the most beautiful parts of the world, the Mount Kearsarge and Lake Sunapee region.

Having traveled extensively in younger days, I know that most people are good and kind, and though we celebrate different traditions, most people share the same core values. I learned that we all want the same things: to enjoy life to the fullest doing things we love surrounded by people we love.

When I drove into the village of Sutton Mills for the first time 42 years ago, it was love at first sight. The little village seemed frozen in time. Children played in the streets, which had no sidewalks, and chickens roamed about. A small general store was the only business, sharing the village with a library, town hall and public school.

We settled a mile outside the village, and still live in the same place. Our children went to the Sutton elementary school, and now our granddaughter attends, able to walk there from her village home. She plays in the village with other kids after school. There are still no sidewalks, and the general store closed a long time ago.

New London, seven miles north on Route 114, is the perfect small town for nearly all our needs. From the Colby-Sawyer College campus on one end of Main Street to the Hannaford shopping center on the other, the town provides a wide variety of resources.

It has an outstanding library, bookstore, gift and used clothing shops, hardware store, food co-op, New London Hospital, more banks and Realtors per square foot than seems possible for a small town. New London has become a culinary mecca, with no fewer than eight excellent dining establishments, with two others in nearby Wilmot. To top it off, we also have a world-class bakery, the Blue Loon. Do you know how many layers there are in a croissant?

My daily drive down Main Street is a distinct pleasure. The approach on Route 114 is lined with spectacular maples and beautifully landscaped homes. Traffic is rarely an issue, even during the busier summer. After lunch, I do my banking and shopping in short order. The pleasure of dealing with people you know adds to the experience. As does the fact there is simply no waiting on line (except, of course, at Tucker’s).

A recent trip to New York for a family funeral reminded me of the burdens of big city life. The perpetual gridlock and congestion is demeaning and infuriating. Consider how wasteful it is for millions of cars to idle in traffic. The lost resources, time and energy are mind-boggling. Wherever one goes, there’s a line. And it happens in every big city around the world.

As I grow older I am more aware of using time wisely. That means being with people I care for in a place I love. The changing of the seasons offers enough variety and challenge. Life in New Hampshire is like living in four different climate zones. Every season offers a variation of the same radiance. I haven’t wondered for a long time if the valley is greener elsewhere. Like the surrounding forest I so love, I am more and more rooted in place.

(Sol Solomon lives in Sutton.)

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