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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Riding Around New England : Mystic Seaport

         I went a whaling, in my mind, just in my mind. I climbed aboard the Charles Morgan and set sail in search of behemoth.  Oh, yes. But first I went through the town, like a good seaman should. I walked the cobbled streets and I talked to the ones who lived there, and they told me of all the things that must be done.
        The boat shop. all things for ships that go to sea. With a lantern on the table, and a model ship rocking on the window ledge.

 The clock makers shop. The king of England once offered a huge prize to the person who would make a clock that would work on a ship. Hence the chronometer, which is not affected by the roll of the sea.
 The ships carver had many a story to tell. And his shop was full of beautiful, intricate things. Even a statue of Davy Crockett. Did you know he had a ship named after him? He was a United States senator once.
 All the lovely signs. Alas I had no time  to go to Steamboat Landing.
 The lady is getting the horse equipped to pull the wagon.
This beautiful little church. I feel one must stop here, before one embarks on a whaling ship that will sail the seas for years with out coming home.
 Inside it is small and the wood gleams in the filtered sunshine. I can hear the hymns. The old, old ones from long ago, and the thunder from the pulpit is ringing in my ears, even in the stillness of this now quiet sanctuary.
 The grass grows green around the old stones. Stones whose names and days are washed away by the years, and they lean and sink back into the sod.
 The house gardens are beautiful, now, in June. Lush and colorful, sweetly scented mingling with the smell of the sea.
  The cooper is busy with his barrels, so integral to the journey. First they are filled with water, in the hold, for ballast, then hopefully filled with whale oil as we sail on. Did you know that whale oil does not soak into the wood, so a cooper must go with the ship, and water down the oil filled barrels so they won't leak. He is a very important man on the ship.
       Oh, the Charles W. Morgan. The last working sailing Whaler left . She can still be taken out to sea. I think , I imagine, standing there. This boat is not so very big. The whale boat that they launch when they spot a whale is tiny. And they go out, dancing over the huge waves and stab a whale that is bigger than the ship? Some kind of crazy.
The stove needs bars to keep the pots from sliding off. The table has troughs, too, for the reason of not losing your plates.
 The wheel. "All I need is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by."
 The bunks for the crew. Not much head room! But cheery, never the less.
 Captain has all the comforts of home. See those stairs? They lead up to his throne.
 The captains throne. I didn't see any throne for the crew, so I don't know how they managed!
 Seamans trunks. In Moby Dick (an old favorite book of mine) they hoisted the trunk on their shoulder and walked up the plank.?? Looks pretty large to me!
The steps going down to the hold. And we will chase the great whale all over the world. We will let fly our harpoons and go for a Nantucket sleigh ride. We will climb the mast and hoist the sails, and see strange lands, and tell tall tales. May our ship come home with many barrels, and when the sea calls we will haul away on the Morgan again.

 There is a boat works here, too, where they build new boats and rebuild old ones. This rather small tub of a boat, the Gerda, saved hundreds of lives during the second world war. They hid the people under the cargo and brought them from Holland to Norway, where they could be safe. Kudos to you, little Gerda!
And a light house with its Fresnel light. This one is for looks only, now. But in their time, they were a comforting beacon to those at sea. I loved my day here. I learned so many things. The folks who work here love what they do. One told me he studies every night about things so he can answer the questions intelligently.
   I hope you enjoyed coming with me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Riding Around New England: The Bridge of Flowers

               The Bridge of Flowers in beautiful Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

A bridge of flowers across the Deerfield River.

                                        Wisteria Vine

                      Between the towns of Buckland and Shelburne

                          Pink roses and Allium seed heads

                                        Beautiful Astibille

                             Lillies and Hydrangea

                                   Roses of many colors

                             Yellow Asters


                                   White roses

                               The bird stands guard

                          A bench to rest on.
         Loveliness abides in this best of all possible worlds.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Oh! The Places I've Been!

    A year! A year of riding around New England. Oh! The places I've been, and the things I have seen! And I know I've only touched the edges, and the bits and pieces. There's still a whole new world out there to go riding around in! Starting here. Here at the sugar house, here in the Raggedy Garden, here where I hang my hat. Here where my heart is.

    Apple orchards, not yet blooming, not yet fruit filled. Curvy, slender, silver with years. With the grass greening up and the ancient stone walls rambling around them. They hold the future, the hope, the possibilities. Of new life and the circle of seasons.
    Many a path, through many a woods. Enticing, luring, enchanting. What will I find, if I follow this curve of  a pathway?

     In this stony land, where the granite lives, one must build with stones. There is a living, beauty in them. Touch a great jumbled hunk of granite and you will feel it. All the years, and all the seasons, and all the snow, and wind and rain and sunshine. A granite step, in the sunshine, warm and gentle, strong and steady. What New England, and its people are made of.

    Covered bridges. Some still in use. Some only for walking across.

     Killed by a bear, Hundreds of years ago. But the legend lives on. The road is a dirt road. The woods are old, and quiet, filled with sun shine and shadow. We rocked through the ruts, and mud and stones, and we found him. Lest we forget.

     All the old mill buildings. They were run by water power. They gave New England, and a lot of other places, all the things they needed to survive. Still standing. Still hearing the rushing water tumble by. Dreaming of the old times.

    Between the Mountains Road. Some names are too delicious. This is a dirt road, also. Where we jostle and bump along between the mountains.

    A lake, and a float plane. So many waters, reflecting the sky, surrounded by little camps and hardwood forests.

     Huge, old abandoned chimneys. Crumbling and beautiful. All that is left of some ones hearth and home. The woods creep closer. The meadow is lush and filled with life around it. Not sad. Just real life.

    Waterfalls, crashing and splashing through chunks of strewn granite.

    The tracks, curving into the tunnel. Trains still go through here, over the bridge , across the river, and on down the line.

    When the colors begin to show, and the tracks lead onward. Where will the road take me?

    Ahh! The wood piles! In New England wood is a serious business.

    This is a ski jump. At some time, some wild ones did this. It has not been used for ski jumping for awhile. But I know some later wild ones who climbed up it. Which is  another story. It makes my stomach lurch.

    The sun sets over the water, over the hills.

    The dawn comes up, like thunder, out across Frenchmans Bay.

    The mighty Atlantic Ocean crashes against the cliffs.

    All the small, sweet churches. Steeples rising high above every town. Stained glass windows, beautiful doors, plain Quaker meeting houses with out any frills.

    The smallest church that I've found, so far.

     Pillsbury Flour started here. Who would've thought?

    This road, too. Dirt road. Ruts and rocks and puddles. But the name is like music. I hope you enjoyed riding around New England with me last year! Who knows what we will discover in this new one!