Spacer March 20, 2005
  | Asymmetry | Archive | March 20, 2005 |



Yesterday was the best day I can remember having in a long time. Up at the crack of dawn -- really -- ready to face the day almost before it began. A quick trip to the grocery store down the street, a pleasant time spent planning the week's menus while the rest of the household slept.

After lunch we went up to Elm Park, the first time we have been there since we moved here, and the first time we've all been outside in far, far too long. The air was still chilly but there was no need for gloves, melting water was a constant presence to the ear, and the trees that we passed had buds on them. Every year it amazes, this commonplace of spring. Newly returned geese chattering to one another early and late (I'm reading Tom Holt's Expecting Someone Taller right now and wonder if it would really be interesting to understand the language of birds). The pair of swans that live on Curtis Pond are back, though we're not sure they ever really went away; the pond appears to stay unusually warm throughout the winter, and though it did freeze over several times it has more often had a patch of open water and a few grimly persistent waterfowl.

In any case, the park was lovely. We walked around the perimeter rather than mire the stroller in the mud and snow that still clog the grounds, then continued our stroll through the neighborhood, once apparently one of Worcester's most prosperous, now overtaken by Becker College, whatever that may be. Grand old houses chopped up into student flats and lecture rooms. Lydia looked at everything with some apparent amazement and possible wariness; she's spent most of the winter indoors, after all. I do hope that with the advent of spring we'll all get out more often.

After the walk it was still too nice to go home, so we drove down Stafford Street and then through winding lanes to what the map promised was the Great Cedar Swamp. It may well have been, but a row of houses blocked most of the view, and of course it was all still covered with snow, looking brown and a bit dreary even on a bright warm day. Still, the amount of standing water on both sides of the road suggested that there is indeed a swamp there, and most importantly we were out of the house and enjoying ourselves. The best part of the drive was past the aptly named Hilltop Farm (I'm missing a word in the name -- Clinton? Clifton? something like that) which commands a breathtaking (in a minor way) view of its surroundings and promises fresh milk for sale, something which I admit I find a bit intriguing.

I've been reading Deborah Madison's book Local Flavors; it's all about farmers' markets and the joys of regionalism and eating seasonally. As a New Englander I can't quite grasp the latter -- what on earth would one eat all winter? we can't all live in southern California -- but am intrigued (there's that word again) by the former. There seems to be a still-minor but definitely present -- at least in the food world -- counter-current to those things about modern life that most aggravate me. Especially since moving out here, I have become more oppressively conscious of the weight of chains on this country. Between Route 9 -- a good fifty solid miles of chain stores -- and the Citadel of Consumerism, as we have re-christened the painfully-named Shoppes (insert spitting noise from David) at Blackstone Valley, there are literally thousands of acres of parking lots and big box stores.

A pox on all of their houses. I don't want to be a part of that. I want parks and farms and glorious spring days.

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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 2005 Rebecca J. Stevenson