52 Photos ~ Where people gather

Flat Top Johnny's

I think we can all agree that this winter has been long by any measure.

Even this week, when the days are noticeably elongated by extra minutes of daylight, the overnight temperatures keep plunging down below -10º F. The alternating daytime sunshine followed by nighttime freezes has glazed the snow with a sparkling layer that fractures with each step. It makes for beautiful but tiring walking.

Because I work at home, I spend too many hours alone in this house and on the trails and hills surrounding it. It’s beautiful. I love this place. But after a winter like we’ve all had, I’m antsy. I need to see people and buildings. I need to eat food that I didn’t cook. I need to buy things that I don’t really need. I need a different view out the window. I need not to see the piles of books and waiting projects.

Long days. Cabin fever days. Seen-enough-of-the-shovel-and-the-wood-pile days.

Probably not coincidentally, New England schools take a one-week break in February. M had to work, but H and I skeddadled to Boston, where my sister took us in and offered us her city.

We went to the most touristy of Boston spots, Quincy Market, where we grazed up and down the central hall of the food building and reminisced about our school days when we’d be set free early once a month from classes and we’d take the bus into town with our friends and gorge on pizza and french fries and then go window shopping at the most ridiculous single-themed tiny shops (one that sold nothing but things with hearts, another that sold only purple objects).

These days, Quincy Market is rather more like a mall, populated with larger chain stores (thankfully, the pizza place is still there). Even so, we enjoyed our hours among the school groups and the tourists, and the cute couple with matching stocking caps, and the new parents pushing baby carriages, and the teenagers giggling next to the candy shop, and the guy playing piano in the central atrium for an hour without stopping.

Our first night in town, we went to play pool. The music was loud, the food was mediocre, but we were there for the pool and the tables were clean and smooth. None of our group is any good at all, but oh did we have fun. We took turns walking around the table, lining up our shots, sinking some, but missing more often, trying out ridiculous angles, and laughing a lot. We got better as the night wore on, and then we got worse as we got tired.

I didn’t think about snow or ice or firewood or the oil tank once.

We’re home again and it’s as bitter as ever. I swear if it’s like this in April I’ll buy a plane ticket to Mexico. You’ll find me there with a pile of books, a plate of tacos, a tall cool drink, and no memory of winter.

Today when I went out the snow was so white, the sky so blue, the sunlight so bright that it was blinding (you know that kind of day when you come back inside and everything looks pink? that kind of day). The river was still frozen over. The dog skittered out onto the ice; he’s either braver than I am or just clueless.

I imagined a giant cue stick in my hand, my bending low over the table of ice, shooting my right arm forward with force, the slam of spring against winter, breaking it, scattering it, and sinking it into the corner pocket.


This photo and post are in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You should participate, too! Read about how it works here. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.


  1. Cindy says:

    This photo looks professional! Impressive.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Thanks so much, Cindy!

  2. Mary Kane says:

    Rebecca, It’s so funny, I was just writing you a letter about what my days are like and then I decided to look and see if you had posted anything new and found your brilliant tale of cabin fever and pool shooting and saw the photos of how you start your day. What a treat.

    1. Rebecca says:

      I love when that sort of thing happens. So glad you found your way here this week…

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