The Best. Vacation. Ever. ended a week ago: we got back to the States around 10PM Saturday night and by 10AM Sunday morning, I was on the road, headed north.

It was the same drive that I made on July 25th of last year, with my house closing behind me, driving to PA with Serenity overflowing with stuff. This time the stuff was everything left from my storage unit: a cedar chest, a chair, plastic crates holding my mom’s china and R’s childhood. And overflowing was no exaggeration. A leg on the cedar chest broke when we were moving it into the van, so its contents were in another plastic crate and the bed was piled high with stuff. I had a sliver of bed on which to sleep, small enough that rolling over meant bumping into a crate.

But my attitude was not at all the same. Last year, I was still running down checklists in my head, still tight with tension and uncertainty about what I was doing. I was excited, but even finding a campground for the night felt like a challenge. I vividly remember stopping at a rest stop and having that, “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” feeling because the air smelled different. Ten(-ish) months later, it felt familiar. And I didn’t bother with a campground: I drove until it was almost dark, then found myself a quiet corner of a Flying J parking lot and settled in for the night.

It was actually only my second night in a real parking lot, and my first night on a highway parking lot, but I’ve spent enough time camped in driveways and on streets now that it didn’t faze me. My first parking lot night, sometime last August, was almost sleepless, jolting awake at every flickering light, but this time, I just crawled into bed, apologized to B, who had to sleep on the floor, and crashed. At 5AM Monday, I woke up and started driving again.

My destination:

Fields and trees

The view from Serenity’s door.

Several years ago, the Best Brother Ever bought an old stone farmhouse for the sake of the land around it. It’s in a strange location, not exactly rural, not exactly suburban. Costco and Whole Foods are a mile away, across a highway, and it’s on a road simultaneously too busy and too narrow to feel safe for walking. The house is not really livable, although it could be lovely with a lot of work and probably a ton of money. But the gardens… well, expect to see a lot of pictures of them over the next few weeks. I intend to stay here until I finish writing Grace. Probably with some interruptions — I’ve got some fun weekends planned, spending time with friends and relatives — but mostly, I am going to sit here and write.

And watch the blueberries get ripe.

unripe blueberries