Today the feeling stirred up and washed over me in a wave. An eagerness to explore old places, brought on by reading about historic events 350 years ago. I get like this. Really, that’s where this blog started, and will return again when the world returns to normal and I’m up to the task. Anyway, I was sparked with inspiration and wanted to jump in my car and drive immediately to old battle sites and places of significance that I’ve largely ignored until this feeling flushed the indifference away. I’m eager to get to it already. Damn you COVID-19.
This is my history geek version of spring fever, this stirring, this desire to get out and see things with my own eyes rather than rely on history books and Wikipedia. It makes me appreciate the freedom of movement I’ve had for most of my life. For many people around the world this freedom of movement isn’t available. I’m grateful for the odd assortment of ancestors and events that plopped me down in this place, in this time, with relative good health and a small dose of usable intelligence to productively exist and to peacefully coexist with others.
I can’t responsibly travel far, but I can travel locally and maintain appropriate social distancing. And I know the perfect places to visit – those nearby graveyards and old burial grounds. Those who came before aren’t carrying COVID-19, and they’re safely maintaining a six foot boundary from me anyway. There are lessons in graveyards, some of which I’ve explored before on this blog. Graveyards offer their own version of travel in the form of time travel. There are plenty of stories close to home engraved on those headstones, and the land itself is largely the way it’s been for as long as the graveyard has existed. I need to be outside more, and those permanent residents need a few more respectful visitors. A win-win it seems to me. And a sure cure for spring fever.
So with that in mind I took a walk in the light, cold rain half a mile down the road to a graveyard occupied by people buried here during the early 1800’s to about 1885 or so, or put another way, roughly during the lifetime of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Maybe he knew someone buried here, but the 27 miles between that graveyard and Concord, Massachusetts might as well have been a thousand miles back then. These were farmers, blacksmiths and sawmill workers around here, they weren’t making the trek to Concord or Boston for Emerson lectures. They’d marvel at my quick ’round trips to places that they’d walk all day to get to. And mock me my complaints about not being able to roam freely in these times. They knew far worse than this. I can’t argue that point, thinking to myself as I took my iPhone out to snap a picture I’d upload with this post. Technological leaps they never could have imagined in their time on our side of the turf. Maybe I needed that reminder today. It’s always good to get the neighbor’s perspective on things.