The Periwinkle Door


I needed just three states to complete my eastern seaboard map: New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Only Vermont remains.

Last week I accompanied a friend to New Hampshire to visit some of her family. I volunteered to go, as is my way. Sometimes I get a yes, sometimes a thanks but no thanks. My feelings are never hurt. It’s a numbers game. The way of the wanderer.

So now I know: I LOVE New Hampshire. It is one ridiculously quaint town after the other with canopied forest on winding roads in between.

We were staying in Rye with a relative. There was nothing between the window of my bedroom and the ocean except a road and a beach. Cool breezes and the sound of waves crashing the shore accompanied me every night. A slash of bright orange roused me from sleep each morning.

Just a short drive south along the coast, was a tiny row of houses – maybe four total. There was one in particular that broke from the row and leapt to the middle of the road for me. My breath would catch and my head would whip at the sight of it. The house with the tiny periwinkle door became my obsession. Full volumes of prose were writ in an instant and cast to the shore breezes just as swiftly.

I passed it several times, studying different aspects of it each time. The impossibly small size of that periwinkle door, the boarded center panel that at one time must have been a door for those of human scale, the flowers, the light.

There was a path along the front side, between the structure and the sea, that I left untrod. Would the mystery shatter if I observed the other side? I would leave that for another trip.

My need to imagine far exceeded my need to know.

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