Monday, August 26, 2013

New England Reflections (Cont.): The Platypus Travels Part XXXVIII

The Green.  At the heart of any New England village was the "common" or "village green."  Flanking the green would be a Congregational church at one end and an Episcopal church at the other.  Then there would be a burial ground and the most important homes and buildings.  This is my green, or simply The Green.  We drove past this little patch of grass multiple times each day.  I still don't know why it has a statue of an amazon smiting a lion, but I don't have to.  Humans lived for millennia without knowing why the sun rose.  Finding out would only add to the wonder.
 The Congregational church, right where it should be.  My apologies for the power lines.  There are still places in the U.S. where modernity is tacked on as an afterthought.
The Episcopal church sporting its new dome.  The original was gray from a fire that started when the sexton decided to shoot pigeons off the roof and his rifle wadding ignited cupola.
 And the burial ground.
 A fit place for a ghost to go and a place where I felt at home.  We're both waiting for the eschaton.
 A reminder that child mortality was high even among the wealthy a little more than a century ago.
Two of the older stones in the cemetery.  The Beardslies are still on their farm.
Graveyards are gardens, and like gardens they all have their little treasures.  I never thought to find this little bit of masonic opulence.
 I walked among the graves at night,
And felt them all about me,
Strangers, friends
And the somber father laid
His arm about my shoulder
And the weak maid placed a
Hand upon my arm
About my legs, a cloud of
Little fingers pressed
And all whispered:

Courage sir!  For today we light a fire that will not soon be put out.

And all their faces were:

Burning, burning, burning.
God help me, I cannot burn!


Gabe Moothart said...

I'm really enjoying getting to see you revisit your childhood, Jim.

With a few exceptions I didn't really latch on to the place where I grew up (I remember your frustration at Biola that no one would defend California against Connecticut :-), but I have a really strong connection to Grandma's House. I think the closest thing for me to your wandering in Connecticut would be wandering around Toledo, OR. where she lived.

I am not quite sure why that is, but Toledo is certainly more interesting and explorable than Socal.

James said...

Hey Gabe,

Glad you like it (and that's it's not annoying). I live in a place with lots of state pride now, so maybe that makes up for all the SoCal "chill." I haven't been up to the Pacific Northwest, but I hear that Oregon is beautiful. It was recently voted one of the more under-appreciated states in the Union.

If you ever figure out that why, let me know. SoCal is still foreign to me, but it's a place that's well worth thinking about.