Friday, July 25, 2008

God's country

We are vacationing in the Boston area, staying north of Boston in a town called Burlington. Today, we explored places I should remember from American History class -- the Lexington green and the north bridge at Concord. By New England standards, I'm sure it is considered blistering hot. I even had to peel off my top shirt while walking at one point. But the underlying breeze is cool and the air is so less humid than what I'm accustomed to in Houston. My older daughter, who has her mind on college choices, remarked several times in reference to the climate and surroundings, "I'm going to college here." (Let's see, that would make her a Harvard girl.)

I can't say I remember seeing or hearing many birds today, but the wildflowers, hills and trees were nothing short of magnificent. How I would love to be here in the fall, with all the leaves turning! There were areas thick with daylillies (planned gardens to be sure) and an area on the other side of the north bridge that was profuse in purple cone flowers. Quaint stone pathways led here and there, with a constant sprinkling of stone-upon-stone fences (walls) that added to the rustic charm. At one point, I stood on the north bridge and watched the gentle current of the river below, my younger daughter pointing out the "swirls" where the current seemed to briefly divert and change direction. We commented that it would be fun to take a canoe or kayak down the river; perhaps another day.

While in Concord, we also went to visit the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The area has a rich history of authors and philosophers -- Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Sydney, and so forth. The Hawthorne home was also home to the Alcott family for a time being, before they took up residence in the better known Orchard House, where Alcott's book Little Women is set. I loved hearing the history of the house and its inhabitants. I commented early on to the tour guide that Hawthorne had tortured me in high school, even confessing that The Scarlet Letter was one of the few books I never finished (although I visited it again as an adult and enjoyed it). I decided I might give Hawthorne another chance, remembering a volume of short stories my husband had. I also bought 2 books; one for my older daughter (the war history buff) -- a short memoir by Alcott recording her years as a nurse during the Civil War. I remembered this "chapter" in her life from a book I read on Alcott as a child. The other book is a thick biography on Alcott and her "radical" and eccentric father, Bronson Alcott. Alas, another book I shall labor over for months. (I think I'm just about ready to take that speed reading course.) I do so love to read, but find it difficult to accomplish.

So many beautiful sights today. I found myself yearning to sit on a bench and take in all of God's creation. I think that was my thinking in stationing myself at the north bridge and just breathing in the world around me. I thought, it's all so beautiful. I don't have the words to adequately describe and convey it. How often do we walk right by the world around us with hardly a second thought? (Quite often in a big, noisy city) There is a canvass before me here that I rarely see at home. I believe I could pack up a backpack full of books each day, a blanket and a bottle of water and settle down for a nice long read, surrounded by the "words" of God -- the objects he spoke into being.

It is very important to take time regularly to slow down, rest, recoup, even redefine ourselves. What a pleasure to be here in God's country.

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