Meghan McCarthy McPhaul
    Writings from a Full Life
         The latest from Meghan's Blog

            
A Tale of Two Seasons

    On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, rather than going for a hike or a bike ride or an end-of-summer trip to the beach, we settled into what felt like a fall day. That morning was one of a string of chilly mornings, and the day’s damp start turned into a steady rain by lunch time. I was tempted to nudge the thermostat up and kick the furnace into action for the first time since May, but it just seemed too early. 

Instead, we lit a fire in the fireplace, letting the woodpecker-drilled logs of an old apple tree burn into fresh ashes on the hearth floor, swept clean months ago. We dug through the shorts and t-shirts of summer to find jeans and fleece tops and socks. And during the big weekly grocery shop, I put a roasting chicken into the cart rather than something to throw on the grill. For good measure, we added locally-grown apples to bake into a pie.

It’s a bittersweet transition, this shift from full summer to early fall. I lament the new darkness of early mornings and the relative freedom of summer days spent mostly with the kids, but I am also relieved to get back to a more predictable routine of work, school, soccer practice – busy as it is. READ MORE

                       Mowing
   
I have been helping to mow our fields these last weeks of August, making long work out of what could be done by an experienced operator in a few days.

This mowing is far from Robert Frost’s contemplative whispering scythe, though the poet kept his own fields just down the hill from ours some 100 years ago. No, our field is long past hay, if it was ever used for that, and is full of an array of wildflowers and brush and ferns. There is nothing whispering about the tractor, which gives a baritone rev when I turn the key, before settling into a deep mechanical purr. Where a scythe would clang resoundingly, I imagine, should its curved blade meet a boulder, the old bush hog instead grinds to a shuddering stop when I fail to avoid those brush-hidden chunks of granite left by the glaciers eons ago. READ MORE

              
              Trying the Triathlon

    
The clouds that had been drifting across Cannon Mountain all morning started dripping rain as I stood near the summit, peering downhill into the fog. I was amid a throng of spectators at the finish line of the 25th Top Notch Triathlon, ringing cowbells and shouting encouragement to tired racers as they pushed through the last steps of the climb.

The weather this year, organizer Kim Cowles told me, was the worst it’s ever been for the Top Notch. A stiff headwind met racers as they set off on bikes from downtown Franconia. The same wind whipped whitecaps across the surface of Echo Lake as swimmers stroked their way through the chilly water. Now the high-elevation rain showers were threatening to evolve into a full-fledged downpour. 

Somewhere out there on that foggy mountain was my 10-year-old son. READ MORE

Meghan McCarthy McPhaul is an award winning author and journalist. She lives in northern New Hampshire, where she works as a freelance writer, penning magazine and newspaper articles, as well as copy for newsletters, press releases, Web sites and Blogs.

Her Close to Home column appears twice a month in the Littleton Record newspaper, and she writes a weekly Winter Notes column for the Union Leader. Her work has also been published in Powder, Northern Woodlands, Forest Notes, Snow East, AAA's Northern New England Journey, and several local and regional publications, as well as two anthologies of place-based writing.

She has been honored by the New England Press Association for excellence in spot news coverage and feature writing and by the International Skiing History Association for her book A History of Cannon Mountain: Trails, Tales and Skiing Legends. 

Meghan is currently working on a collection of essays.

Winner of the 2011 Skade Award from the International Skiing History Association!



What people are saying about

Trails, Tales and Skiing Legends:

"The author's talent in writing the oft-neglected biographies of Cannon's pioneer skiers and d
evelopers in such delightful detail is commended and certainly the reader's good fortune."


"A nifty little book..."

"McPhaul ... gracefully and compassionately ... adds much to our understanding of Cannon Mountain and the forces and people that tried to tame it."


"...a really superb, well-done book. A History of Cannon Mountain does a remarkable job of conveying the spirit, atmosphere, and joy of ... Cannon Mountain."

This is the first comprehensive history written about Cannon Mountain, one of the oldest ski areas in the United States and a cradle of American ski history.
To learn more about the book or purchase a copy,
please visit the
Cannon Mountain page.

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