History/Travel

A Sense of Place: Visiting the Neighbors

A Sense of Place: Visiting the Neighbors

The 5th of May is a big deal for distillers of tequila, brewers of Mexican beer and every Mexican restaurant in North America.  To me the 5th of May, especially on a Saturday, is a day of yard work.  After a typical New England winter and spring, meaning it was all over the place, there’s a long checklist of things that need to get done.  Loam to spread, trees to trim or cut up, potted plants to bring outside, pool chemistry to dive into, and pressure washing to get to.

The Cinco de Mayo celebration kicks in tonight, when I’ve earned a beverage or two.  In other words, it’s just another day, but with a better tagline.  But that doesn’t mean its ordinary.  Every day is a gift after all, and there’s memories to make today too.  Yesterday, on “May the 4th be with you” day, I noted that I was only 9 minutes away from a spot I’d wanted to visit for a few years now (refer to yesterday’s post).  I had a productive, impactful work day for sure, but its the side trips that make the day.  See a historic site, meet a new and interesting person, smell the roses, seize the day.

Considering that, I’ve often thought I should visit the graveyard down the street from my house.  This morning I walked over to it and read the gravestones.  There were Hale’s, Dustin’s, Clement’s and other families buried there.  Hale’s Bridge crossed the stream right near the cemetery, but it’s long gone now, replaced by a modern road.  I’m looking up Hale’s Bridge for a post another day.  The Dustin family must be related to Hannah Dustin, we are only a few miles away from where they lived.

Some gravestones are easy to read, others are worn down to a point where there’s no lettering at all.  Most are in between.  This is one I’ll revisit sometime with a pencil and paper.  These are the families who lived here two hundred years ago.  They likely built the stone wall that runs behind my house, and farmed the land where my house sits now.  Time reveals little of them now, save for engraved facts about the deceased, and the occasional note about what a good person they were.  Captain Clement was a “tender husband and father dear”.  He died in 1816 at the age of 37, which likely set up hardship for the family who had to endure without him.  Sure, it was a tougher time when it came to life expectancy, but 37 is pretty young.  Life is a fleeting dance with the abyss, so best to make the most of this day.

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