One of the assignments in the Writing 101 Challenge is to describe a visit to a public place, café or park, etc., showing more than telling. Still learning how to do that but also remembering this project is ultimately to help us write more, not necessarily get us to follow directions to a T. So, am deciding to write what I want, follow directions as best I can.
The assignment however dovetails nicely with my last visit to a favorite place, a small historical village across the river from my less “precious” one. Love how it transports me away from a mundane routine with its long, lovingly tended green in the middle of the village, a popular attraction for weary souls who just want to sit still; or walk the dog, or just walk themselves. And if grass and trees lifting me up toward the sky aren’t enough, there’s a more fabulous view in a nearby cove where people go to launch boats, throw out fishing lines, or just watch the seagulls play with the sunbeams reflecting across the water. It’s hard not to envy those living on the other side of the cove with their twenty-four seven view of this soothing scene.
Usually that’s enough but sometimes it’s also fun to slip further back in time into the virtual dollhouse of an ice cream parlour nearby, shrouded in its own “forest” behind the tree-laden street. The little gingerbread of a house was obviously designed for little ones but I think it appeals to us grownup kids as well since a lot of us hang out there with or without little ones. It’s color-laden and photo-laden ceiling to floor, inside and even up on the roof. I’m lifted above the hi-speed bullet-train pace of this age by the exuberant, colorful swirls and twirls, pinwheels and lawn flamingoes, in an equally perfect and fun English garden of flowers adorning a period porch with cushioned wicker seats and the aroma from a fully operative popcorn machine! What more could a grownup kid want?
And of course there’re endless ice cream flavors and textures, along with fancy baked goods, tempting enough to satisfy even this no-sweets lover!
The last time I ventured over with a friend, we were drawn to investigate the eighteenth century group of buildings a few paces away that we’d assumed had been closed. But, we discovered, new owners had pulled these buildings back from destruction. We found ourselves in a huge nursery! But this nursery is a cavernous barn housing rows and rows of bins and shelves showing off their babies in a hushed and dimly almost surreal environment. I felt we should be whispering to allow these babies, heirloom unmodified seeds, to get their rest in preparation for their ultimate sprouting place in the soil of someone’s garden.
We found out these buildings were the home for more than two hundred years of the longest continually operating seed company in the country, Comstock, Ferre & Co. Along with the unadulterated seeds are many old-fashioned home and garden products, reminding me of the bygone days of pride in craftsmanship, building to last, more focus on preserving and caring for our precious planet.
Not that I’m against progress and innovation, but places like this remind me not to throw out the baby with the bath water, to keep what’s good from the past while embracing the new. They also help me see nature’s inherent intelligence and beauty more deeply, and that we can’t really improve upon it much as we think.
Thanks to all the keepers of quaint little villages and the regenerative nature of some old-fashioned ways.