Monthly Archives: April 2013

Day Five

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 027How can we make spring last longer?  I think we’ve figured out the secret.  Just keep moving north!  Spring in D.C. was lovely and spring in New York was just coming into it’s fullness a couple of days ago, now in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, spring is just beginning.  And, it’s gorgeous!

2013 April 29 NewBedford & FtAdams 001We spent the day in New Bedford, MA visiting the Whaling National Historical Park.  What amazing and interesting things we learned about whaling.  It is because of the whaling industry that New Bedford got the name “The city that lit the world.” Whale oil revolutionized the country by providing light after the sun went down!  We also were reminded of the consequences of the whaling industry!  Species are now extinct and endangered because of the greed of humanity.  We have caused damage that we have no power to repair.

2013 April 29 NewBedford & FtAdams 037Much of New Bedford’s central waterfront district remains with the same look it had during the hay day of whaling.  Buildings built of stone and brick, with ornamental frontals and narrow cobblestone streets are the norm.  We enjoyed walking the town and were amazed at the signs of spring that were just emerging here.

Returning to the motel through Newport, RI again, we stopped to find the Turo Synagogue that is the first Synagogue in our country due to Roger Williams and his insistence on religious freedoms.

2013 April 29 NewBedford & FtAdams 069We made our way back through Ft. Adams and walked the perimeter of the fort just to see the beautiful views once again.  And, no visit to Newport would be complete without at least a drive on Bellevue Avenue past the magnificent mansions that remain from the  gilded age in American history.  We opted out of touring any homes, but enjoyed the view from the car!

So we’ll have to remember next time when winter seems too long and spring seems slow in coming that we can actually extend the beauty of springtime.  Simply start from a southern location and when the trees and flowers have bloomed and passed, move north and you can experience it all over again, and again.  It seems like magic.  It’s certainly grace.  And we have enjoyed every minute.

Day Four

There is something about time travel that has always fascinated me.  Whether it is science fiction, or a trip through a National Historic Park, both allow us to travel through a time and experience something that is far from what we know.  Today was a day for time travel to the past.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 010We started out the morning in Providence, Rhode Island at the center of the city opposite the capital building.  The Visitor’s Center dedicated to Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, was very informative.  Roger Williams, a gifted minister and preacher, left England in 1631 because of religious conflicts.  After arriving in Boston, he was forced to leave that area in 1636 for the very same reasons he had left England.  Founding the territory of Rhode Island, he was determined to make it a religiously free territory where anyone could practice the religion of their choice – or no religion at all.  His writings on religious freedom were a major influence on Thomas Jefferson and the founders of our country.  His remains are buried on a hill overlooking the city of Providence and his statue stands a top the hill, giving his blessing to the city.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 039From the 1630’s we traveled north and forward in time to the 1790’s and into the history of the Blackstone River Valley in Massachusetts.  We learned about the American industrial revolution and the thousands of small mill towns that manufactured the the fabric that would help to make our country independent from England.  The story of the mill towns and the child labor, as well as company towns, is a sad one.  It was progress – but at what cost?  Many immigrant families, including the children as young as six years old, worked 12 hour days in the mills that were powered by the Blackstone River.  Many mills throughout the Valley stayed in production until the early 1900’s when water power was no longer the only source of energy.  Electricity allowed mills to be built closer to the cotton crops and the major industry of the valley moved into the south, closer to the cotton fields.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 065Venturing further north, and back into the 18th century, we found the birth place, home and family farm of John and Abigale Adams and their children, one of whom also became president, John Quincy.  The area is proud of its native sons and every block is replete with history and markers to denote the church they attended, the home they built, their carriage house and the like.  It felt like standing in a reverent place when I was in the garden outside the house.  It was a beautiful spring day and the family spirit seemed to remain despite the space of years.

2013 April 28 Providence-Quincy-Newprot 123And for the final time travel of the day, we drove south and into the last century, to one summer when I was a student home from college and living with my folks in Newport, RI.  We found the old house and walked the park surrounding the housing area that was once Ft. Adams, as the sun was setting over Narraganset Bay.  I remember evenings spent sitting on a rock in that very same place writing letters to the love of my life, who seven months later would become my husband.

It was a beautiful way to end the day of time travel and come back to the present.

Day Three

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

2013 April 27 from Long Is to RI 039Thankfully, I think we had pockets and bags and memories full of the beautiful today, because we found it everywhere we looked!  Never having been on Long Island before, we wanted to explore all that we could.  However, time does encroach on all that may be possible.  So, we opted for a side trip to Fire Island, a long coastal spit that experienced major damage during Hurricane Sandy.  Fire Island is the longest outer bank in the US that has no established road, and it is totally preserved in its natural state.  The weather was magnificent today and the pictures do not do justice to the beauty and grace that we found there!

2013 April 27 from Long Is to RI 085Traveling on, we drove the entire length of Long Island and stopped in Orient, at the ferry dock, for a bite of lunch while we waited for the Cross Sound Ferry to carry us to New London, CT.  Lunch was extraordinarily good, and the 90 minute ferry ride was stunning – so much beauty surrounded us.

2013 April 27 from Long Is to RI 122Docking in New London, CT on the Thames River, we found our way back to the highway and decided to end our day’s journey and rest in Warwick, RI.

2013 April 27 from Long Is to RI 107It is true, traveling does not make the world beautiful.  But, traveling does help us to see different things and appreciate the many beautiful and spectacular views we can have while taking in sights that are new and different from any we have seen before. If we carry beauty with us, we will see it everywhere.

The same can be true of grace.

Day Two

2013 April 26 Long Island 024Beautiful sun greeted us as we packed out of our Bordentown, NJ motel and made our way into New York state.  We were a little nervous after hearing so much about how New York traffic is worse than D.C.’s.  Suffice it to say, we could not image it.  So, we decided to bypass Manhattan and make a return trip at some future point when we would not have to deal with the car.

2013 April 26 Long Island 013I have to admit that because I wasn’t driving, it was exciting as we came close to the city.  We could see the skyline as we drove across Staten Island and made our way into Queens and further across Long Island.  I became a frantic tourist and began taking shots out the car window!  I was able to get a passable shot of Lady Liberty among the traffic and a glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge before we went on into Queens.

There we found the grave site of my favorite actor, and then made a wrong turn and found a lovely Italian cafe for a late lunch / early dinner.  Well, we couldn’t visit New York without having pizza!

2013 April 26 Long Island 115In Oyster Bay on Long Island, we found beautiful countryside and amazing homes and landscapes.  We visited the home of Teddy Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill; enjoyed the museum; and walked among the budding trees and spring foliage on the grounds.  2013 April 26 Long Island 131Then we found the grave site of my 10th great grandfather who was buried near Oyster Bay in 1672.  It’s a beautiful spot and it was a beautiful afternoon.

We didn’t travel far in miles, but we traveled a great distance in recovering history and connecting with the past.  The entire day was grace!


An Evening Welcome

2013 April 25 Leaving DC 051Downloading my pictures this morning brought back the beauty of last evening.  We couldn’t fully appreciate it in our weary exhaustion at the end of such a long day.  But, I did manage to capture the moment – at 65 miles an hour through the car’s windshield – so I can return to it with further pause, reflection and appreciation.

We were welcomed into New Jersey at 9:00 pm last evening with a full moon rising over the Delaware Bay.  This is what grace looked like for us yesterday.

Beginning Again

After some silence, I’m trying to begin again.

And, this time, for this period of time, since so many are asking about our plans for travel back home to Seattle, I’m going to travel log a bit.  So, this is Day One.

We awoke at 6 am so we could strip the bed and pack the last boxes before the truck came to pack us out of D.C.  It took all of four hours, but it was a full four hours!  Three men working non-stop carrying all our belongings down four flights of stairs.  I’ll bet they didn’t go to the gym today after work!

2013 April 23 with Col on the Mall 050One of the men helping us move had a beautiful analogy.  When we were apologizing for having so many books, he said that living and accumulating things is like an oak tree.  At first the tree is tiny and small, but over the years it grows and grows and after it matures it provides a beautiful shade and demonstrates great strength and beauty.  So, when we grow over the years, we too, mature and accumulate things that help us to provide restful shade and show our inner strength and deep beauty.  He made having a lot to move sound really lovely!  It sounded like grace.

2013 April 23 with Col on the Mall 138After the men with the truck left, we made a mad sweep of cleaning the apartment and worked ourselves into a sweat.  Then we packed up our little Prius so full she groaned and refused to leave space to see out the back window.  But, she faithfully gave us 50.3 mpg as we made our way north out of D.C., through Maryland, Delaware, and into New Jersey.

And now it’s time to rest.  Remember to rest!  Tomorrow is another day.

Experiencing it all

2013 April 5 the Cap at nite 056After so many days of waiting for Spring to arrive – it has finally come in all its glory!  Easter hardly seemed like Easter amid the cold and gray of some weather system preventing Spring.  So now, with a little warmth and sunshine, it is much easier to think about resurrection and new life.

2013 April 5 the Cap at nite 123But one comment from the Easter Vigil homily stays in my mind these last, few bleak and winter days.  The priest was speaking about the resurrection.  He said “The disciples didn’t believe any of this until they had experienced it.”  And each day since I have heard that, I have thought about it again.

2013 March 27 night & moon 094How much can we believe if we don’t experience anything?  Experience is the key to faith or even the possibility of accepting something that may be difficult to understand.

2013 March 29 to WV & B line 028Now our Easter promise is to fully experience all that we can.  These past days when I have not written, it is because I have been experiencing.  We went to a hilltop and watched the moon rise over the city; we have walked miles through Arlington Cemetery; around the Tidal Basin; around and around and around the Capital again and again.  2013 March 29 to WV & B line 051We have made our way out to Shepherdstown, WV and found the birth site of the U.S. Army, where one of my husband’s ancestors (his 5th great uncle, Hugh Stephenson, and very possibly his 5th great grandfather, James) gathered troops to march to Boston to fight with George Washington following the Boston Tea Party.  2013 April 7 Albright 011We found the land where James was born and where James and Hugh grew up.  And, we went to a lecture by Madeleine Albright where she discussed her latest book Prague Winter.  Our days have been full and full of life.

2013 April 6 Arlington Cem 070Experiencing something requires us to be open to the moment; to be attentive to our surroundings; and to remember the sights and sounds and feelings that come over us.  Only then can we incorporate something new into our card catalog of experiences and draw on them as part of our understanding and even our belief.

How have you been experiencing the resurrection?  Have you allowed your experiences to impact your understanding?