History

America | Culture | History | Politics

Knowing Your Place

“Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom.” – Michel de Montaigne There’s a tiny house wren that acts like it owns the place, and carries on about it when I have the audacity to linger near her nest. I understand and concede the space. There…

Culture | History | Travel

Revisiting Belém Tower

Perched on the Northern Shore at the Mouth of the Tagus River, Belém Tower is a time machine back to the Age of Discovery.  It was built while Ferdinand Magellan was still making the first circumnavigation of the globe, a high point on a string of maritime milestones for Portugal.  It was designed by Francisco…

History

Memorial Day

“And if any gaze on our rushing band, We come between him and the deed of his hand, We come between him and the hope of his heart.” – W.B. Yeats, The Hosting of the Sidhe Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  A day to remember those who sacrificed everything that we might…

History | Philosophy | Stoicism

The Forest For The Trees

“Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all…

America | History

I Wonder About Such Things

Who stood here, on this foot-worn knob of ledge looking out on the valley below? Not just today, but one, two or three hundred years ago? I wonder about such things. One hundred years ago a young couple, riding up from the mills of Lawrence or Haverhill, getting out of the city for some country…

Culture | History | Sports

Patriot’s Day 2020

Today is Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts and Maine (once part of Massachusetts). The day marks the commencement of hostilities in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Traditionally, it’s also the day that the Boston Marathon is normally run, at least when there isn’t a global pandemic anyway. And the Red Sox play a matinee game…

History | Learning

Lessons in History

When I read about the Salem witch trials I get angry. Angry at the hysteria of the mob. Angry at the “leaders” of the day, like Cotton Mather who got sucked into the madness. Angry that adults would believe the words of accusers instead of listening to reason. Angry that people died for stupid reasons…