Tom Crowley

Some lived here as children, some as young couples with or without children, and some lived here all of their lives and only moved away when the stark beauty of New England winters gave way to the reality of arthritis or the lure of an attached garage/barn. It really doesn't matter why you left | you will always remember Rocks Village.

This year winter started off slowly with very little snow. In our old house, it was just cold enough to have a fire in the kitchen fireplace every day. The wood pile dwindled just the same and then the cold came along after all. There is no sense of global warming here, Mr. Gore, but we fully support your efforts all the same.

As the cold deepened with the snow, the eagles arrived. Two were magnificently perched up in the big trees on the Rocks Village side, just two doors downstream from the Hand Tub House. One day as the sun went down over Kimball Farm, lighting up the far, West Newbury side, I happened to be walking down River Road toward Merrimacport when I looked to my right and saw a fully mature bald eagle posed high up in its tree. There was a huge, new American flag waving from a flagpole in the foreground and a beautiful house high on the banks of the Merrimack River in the distance. It was a picture that is better left in the mind's eye than on any camera. Besides, by the time I ran home to get mine, the light had changed, the wind died down, and the eagle had flown off to pose somewhere else.

Restoration of our old house continued with a desperate, unbelieving passion from November to early February. In fact, I was working in the attic, the basement, and an old back bedroom simultaneously. I have to run out to the barn to use the big saws, router and bench sander, run back to the house to measure twice, and back again. Not fun when you have to throw on and then off again a coat, hat and gloves each trip.

But the mild weather made it tolerable so I grabbed a hunk of wood on the way back in, threw it in the fireplace and raced up the stairs. We are replastering an old ceiling while we try not to disturb the old Rufus Porter murals that cover all four walls. Years ago someone covered them with wallpaper and the removal process pulled off the old paint and some of the plaster. We rationalize that they look even older now and better when you have the small fireplace going.

As I look around Rocks Village from my front steps or walk down Wharf or Colby Lane, I am very glad that so many houses are being restored and glad we moved here. It is a continuous process that everyone here takes seriously. However, we are never so serious that we can't enjoy getting together in the evening, over a glass of wine or an ice cold beer and appreciate the remains of the day in this little village we call home.

Tom Crowley, who writes from his historic home in Rocks Village known as The Countess House at 29 East Main St., writes The Rocks Village Voice, a homemade, free newsletter for friends, neighbors and family.

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