Place Where You Live:

Wendell, Massachusetts

My sometimes green and sometimes orange house.

If you were to hop on the stretch of US202 from the semi-defunct industrial center of Athol, MA and ride it until you reached the New Salem General Store, then turned right and drove a ways, you would find yourself in a land of fierce greenery. The trees which had previously crowded the side of the road now crown over your car as you drive up the way, and the foliage lends a dappled green light to the deep woods you move through. At some point in that drive, you crossed into Wendell. Only 848 people call this expansive thirty-two square miles home, but despite this, there is a impassioned net of community. The town regularly gets together to support its members, be it following a tragedy, or to launch them on their next step into life.
It was here in this place that I grew up, in what was once a hunting cabin, until previous and current owners added a little here and a little there, cobbling together a sometimes green, sometimes orange, but always multi-tiered paradise of a house. And it was this place that I left this August to step into college. But despite living 344 miles away, I’ve not truly left, for Wendell imprints itself on its inhabitants. It calls us home and hangs at once heavy and light in our soul. And why not? It is a jewel in the crown of exquisite beauty that is the Quabbin Watershed. The stars shine brighter in Wendell without the detriments of light pollution, and the deer paths run through nigh-impenetrable thickets of trees, until they suddenly burst out to the side of a hill, overlooking an undeveloped land of trees spotted with wetlands and clearings filled with wild berries and flowers. Wendell provides for us, my brother often vanishes into the wood, coming back hours later arms full of fruits, mushrooms, and wild plants which he cooks up into omelettes and jams. Wendell cradles us all in a surreal, timeless, tenderness. I do not fear strangers here. I welcome them.