Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Which I Go to Boston in the Fall

. . . and by Boston, I mostly mean Concord, Massachusetts. Which is probably one of my favorite places on earth.

I went to the good ol' MA to visit my grandmother, and we had a lovely time.

And it was autumn, which is my favorite season. And New England knows how to do it right . . . even in those years when it's the worst foliage in living memory (read: the trees weren't as pretty as I was hoping or expecting). But even in years when New England does it wrong, they still do a lot right.

Case in point:

 Tree in Amherst, Massachusetts

My grandmother knows me well, so we went on many literary adventures, including Amherst, Massachusetts and Middlebury/Ripton, VT to visit Emily Dickinson's and Robert Frost's homes, respectively. 

 Do you see the path in the trees? Emily Dickinson called it a lane "wide enough for two in love." So cute. 
 Emily Dickinson's house. 

I learned a lot about Emily Dickinson on the tour. Like, did you know she was a redhead? I didn't. I always assumed she was a brunette. Also, she loved Middlemarch. She loved to bake. She had a basket on a string in her room, and she would lower bread in a basket down to her young nephew and his friends. Going to her house and learning more about her made her more real to me.  

 Middlebury, Vermont. Imagine all of the bare trees a blazing red. That's what I'm told it usually looks like. Still, beautiful. 
 It's a YELLOW WOOD!!!!!! Okay, I know he wrote "Road Less Taken" in 1920, and he probably never came to Middlebury, VT until the 1930s, but I don't care. It's just too cool. This is a "yellow wood" and he decided to live by one! It's just too much. 
 Two paths diverging in a yellow wood! Ahhh! He decided to live by a fork in the road! It seriously was a little too much for my English major heart. I was hyperventilating. Giddy at the very least. My heart was dancing. I almost started dancing. It's just too perfect. And don't worry, I walked on both paths just so I could say I "took the one less traveled by." 



 Ankle-deep in leaves. 
 This picture does not do justice. The smile on my face is only a mere shadow of the happiness in my soul. 

Besides the exquisite adventures outside of Concord, we also visited the Old Manse, which is right by the Old North Bridge. The Old Manse is where Emerson wrote Nature, the philosophical tract which started the transcendentalism movement. It's also where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote Tales from an Old Manse, some of the founding texts of American Romanticism. Also, Emerson's great-great grandmother and her children watched the Battle of the Old North Bridge (aka the Shot Heard 'Round the World) from an upstairs window. 

Another cool thing about the windows? Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne etched little notes to each other on the glass using Sophia's diamond ring. And reading them at sunset by the "golden light" Sophia etched in the 1800s? So cool. Another cool thing? There's a piano from 1864. And the tour guide let. me. play. it. Probably one of the best tours of my life. 

We also went to the Old North Bridge, which is one of my favorite places on earth. I know I've already said that about Concord, but it's true. The Old North Bridge is such a peaceful place, and there's also such a spirit of freedom and bravery there. It is where the colonists first took their freedom into their own hands, and put their "life, fortunes, and sacred honor" on the line. And you can feel it. It is hallowed ground. 

 "By the rude bridge that arched the flood/Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,/Here once the embattled farmers stood/And fired the shot heard round the world." 
River shot of the Bridge. 

You're probably getting tired of pictures and of me talking. But let me just say that I love Massachusetts. And New England. And autumn in general. And this great lady, in particular, for letting me come out and visit her: 

I am blessed beyond words for such a loving, generous family. And two incredible grandmothers. I think I'm only now beginning to see how much God has given me. 

I am one lucky girl.