Sunday, March 25, 2007

Oh Dear, Loose Moose

I cleared Massachusetts this morning, departing Hanscom AFB (I have since discovered that Hanscom is heavily pixellated on Google Earth (lat=42.4662646665, lon=-71.2843313498) – its facilities are classified in some way but the focus on their electronic warfare capabilities is well recorded on various sites) and headed for Worcester via the 495 before getting onto backwoods road “9” and heading west to Northampton and then on to Pittsfield. On the way through to Worcester I was continually surprised by the number of deer either grazing quietly on the side of the road, in the median strips, or every few miles spread across the road in a pile of minced meat not unlike the way kangaroos can end up. I don’t think I had ever thought of deer being this numerous, this relaxed around traffic, or even being this visible in the middle of the day. Not being sure about how skittish or otherwise they might be around traffic I moved into the centre lane after coming across the third or fourth grazing on the side of the road. After a while I realised they were going to care less about my little car if they were not batting an eyelid at the semi trailers blasting past every few seconds.

When I was in primary school, at the age of about ten, I developed an obsession for all things to do with the War of Revolution. I think it was Paul Revere’s ride that did it but the concept of the Minutemen caught my imagination as well. I got my hands on anything I could read about it and the subject was the first thing I researched when I got to High School and found books about it in the library. So I was keen to visit Boston and at least get to Bunker Hill. Poor Mr Revere would have a hard time of it now. I got the sense that unless there had been a bi centenary (1976) Bunker Hill and just about everything else of significance to this period would have disappeared under houses or freeways. Yesterday I walked to Bunker Hill and did so along a dilapidated path which took me under a freeway and through a collection of cardboard houses lived in by homeless men. It went by the grandiose name of the Freedom Trail but it was one track on this trip so far where I was wary about my personal safety. That it is not clearly marked only underscored the sense that 1776 is not well respected by those who live on top of it. I finally found Bunker Hill, a small patch of grass nearly swamped by development. I guess we do the same at home – treat with indifference the sites that are significant to our shaping and history. I left Bunker Hill with a different picture in my head to the one that I had formed in High School.

Visiting Concord was another matter altogether and I enjoyed a sense of history of the area that I did not get in Boston. Though still in a very built up area of the country there had been bit of a disturbance up the main street that morning, with a moose wandering around loose, giving everyone some excitement. I had pulled into the railway station to park my car before walking around, and was told by some locals to look out for a moose. I thought I was being conned, not expecting these animals would exist this far south, until I saw a notice pasted up by a local authority warning that a moose could be an ornery thing to tangle with and advising they were best to avoid. Apart from an elusive moose Concord held an unexpected pleasure in its graveyard. I spent some time walking through reading the stories engraved there. Fortunately there is more here than simply a name and birth and death date although the slate was not holding the details from the weather very well.

This is an area of the country I need to spend some more time in but I am on a tight timetable and am now ensconced in a little bit of Revolutionary history for the night, this being Washington’s old accommodation in Carlisle. This diary is getting harder to fill out the longer I spend on the road but some more on Boston will be worth the effort. Later. Now to bed.

October 1989


Sparrow & Flower said...

You revived the memories of our visit to Boston, Concord and Shrewsbury in 1986. Thanks

Pickled Eel said...

Thanks - It was a great part of the world to visit and I need to get back there some time. That there was an Indian summer really helped as well!

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