I am a great believer in asking the Universe for what you want, and then stepping back and letting it deliver. Often the result is better than you hoped for. In this case, I knew that I needed a place to stay near work, to avoid having to commute from Keene every day. I had a particular rental amount in mind, and wanted to be no more than 20 minutes from Waltham with privacy and comfortable digs. Whimsically, I thought it would be great to be near a train stop, where I could hear the occasional train whistle that I remember from my youth–we were close enough in our last place to hear the Amtrak train in Royal Oak, but there are no trains anywhere near Keene.
While I love the rail trails that have been created out of the torn up beds, I still miss that sound, which put me to sleep every night when I was a kid, and I have always liked living near a place where I could hear the comforting rumble of a train near by (with apologies to Thoreau, who decried the sounds of civilization like the train whistle, which interrupted his deep thoughts…..)
The place I found, in West Concord near Route 2, met virtually all of my requirements. The rent was a little higher, but the house is only a couple of blocks from the commuter train that goes into Boston. As if to apologize for the rent being a bit off, the Universe threw in something I didn’t even ask for–a lovely drive to work through country roads with stone fences and fields, and a route that goes right by Walden Pond. The lake is part of a state park now, its history laid out in a replica of the cabin that Thoreau lived in, and a memorial to the actual site of the cabin, which was torn down after he completed his experiment in natural living in the 1840s (it took him several years to complete his book, which was published in 1854). The cabin site was unearthed in 1908, long after Thoreau’s death–but it was easily found due to his meticulous description.
I feel blessed to be in the midst of such literary history, and though I long since gave away my college copies of the famous works of this place–Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne (I still have a childhood copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, also written in Concord) –I’ve started to re-read them, forty years later. The distance of time and experience will make them completely new, and I’ll share my perceptions as I go along.