A Return to Home Sweet Abbey

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Blogging / Mostly Musings / Neighbors

It’s been more than a year since I posted on this blog. Maybe you thought I had decided to close it down. I wouldn’t blame you. There were times when I thought that’s what was happening too.

It seemed like I had run out of ideas and of inspiration. I would sit down at the computer and try to write, but my topic wouldn’t work out. There were even more times when my mind was a total blank, leaving the cursor blinking on an empty page.

But neither could I completely give up. I missed my blog and your comments. I missed the creative process of trying to wrangle words and images into something that might interest others and please myself. And perhaps most important of all, there was never a week during that year that my blog wasn’t viewed by a few people.

Nevertheless, a year went by. It was a difficult year. I lost my next-door neighbor and my two longtime cats. It was painful staying goodby to Ollie, Shadow, and Angie.


Yet the year held bright spots too. I’ll be blogging about some of them in my next few posts. But before I move on to new business, there is one piece of old business I’d like to wrap up. I had begun a followup to my last post before I took my leave.

In my last published post, I Can’t Wait to Get Back to Three Pines, I write about my excitement over the release of Kingdom of the Blind, at that time the newest book by my favorite author, Louise Penny. I also discuss her series of mysteries set in the fictional village of Three Pines.

Today I’d like to share an excerpt from my unpublished follow up. I think of it as a bridge between my older posts and today’s new beginning. It also returns to my feelings about the community where I live, feelings that remain at the heart of this blog.

Here is the excerpt:

In Louise Penny’s series, the Three Pines setting is as important as the plot and characters. Many readers actually become nostalgic about this imaginary place. I am one of them.

Three Pines is a fictional, almost a mythical, village. We are told it is in rural Quebec, not too far from the border with Vermont. Yet Three Pines itself is a mystery. It appears on no map; GPS cannot find it. Characters have to stumble upon it, or, occasionally, follow a resident home to find it. Here is what Ms Penny says about it:

Some might argue that Three Pines itself isn’t real, and they’d be right, but limited in their view. The village does not exist, physically. But I think of it as existing in ways that are far more important and powerful. Three Pines is a state of mind. When we choose tolerance over hate. Kindness over cruelty. Goodness over bullying. When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical. Then we live in Three Pines.

Now let’s turn to my community, Maples at the Sonatas. We have a time set aside for announcements during our monthly neighborhood coffees. At our last one, my neighbor, Bob, began explaining a problem with some of the Christmas lights that we string on our trees. It was his beginning sentence that caught my attention, one that went like this: “You know the place at our main entrance where the three big pine trees are…”

Right then I stopped listening. Why had I never put this together? We do have three big pine trees, just like the village in the novels. Could it be that we also share some of the atmosphere of Three Pines? Don’t we have the same close knit relationships that Louise Penny describes?

I like to think that the Three Pines state of mind described above is alive and well here, and that it is infused into our shared daily lives.

I leave you, for now, with these photos of the three pines of Maples at the Sonatas.





  1. Marti says

    I enjoy your observations and writing. Glad to see you’ve returned to your blog!

    So sorry to learn about Ollie.


  2. Nice, Caryl! So glad to be reading you again! I’ve been trying to get back into writing Life Out of Tunes. Plenty of ideas, but little “pen-to-paper” application. Stay tuned, though.


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