To the Mail

I took a walk to the mail today. It's about a 1/2 mile each way--perfect for a lunchtime break.

I thought about those who came before me on this old land. I thought about how interconnected they were...not in ways we strive to be, but in ways they needed to be.

Huge old haying fields such as this could not have been managed alone. Men and boys moved from field to field and farm to farm during those long, hot days of summer cutting the sweet, dry hay.

The fields needed to be cleared for wheat and corn. The stone walls rose maybe walling in, maybe walling out, but always making good neighbors.

In autumn, they ground their grain...

...and the children walked to school--65 of them converging on this crossroads from farms in all four directions.

The teacher boarded at each farm. The men took turns providing the wood to heat the school and the time to make repairs such as to this outhouse.

In March, they tapped the trees and boiled the sap through the long cold nights while playing the fiddle, keeping each other company, and enjoying the chance to be outside after the winter snows.

I can imagine the women walking this road to spend an afternoon spinning or quilting as they shared work, news, and friendship.

Just for a day, I'd like to follow this wall, into the shadows of time, and meet those who cleared this land, walked our roads, worked our fields, and borrowed cups of sugar.

Dawn  – (April 25, 2008 at 5:02 PM)  

I loved this little walk to your mailbox. I felt like I was right with you and I enjoyed thinking about how life must have been for people long ago. This was such a beautiful post.

Tara  – (April 25, 2008 at 6:08 PM)  

What a calming, thoughtful post. I enjoyed this little break from the craziness in my office right now very much!

Patience  – (April 25, 2008 at 6:22 PM)  

What a lovely, evocative post!

Anonymous –   – (April 25, 2008 at 9:34 PM)  

I am always fascinated by local history, especially here in the East. Where I grew up (Southern California) there isn't so much history to be found--suburbs popping up in the 20th century, before that perhaps grazing by Spanish rancho owners, and before that perhaps Chumash Indians living there seasonally.

But nothing much to really trace back or find. Old trails are paved over. Because of the relative newness of everything, and the earthquakes and wildfires, generally the only "old" buildings are the Spanish missions.

Cadi  – (April 26, 2008 at 12:15 AM)  

That was soOoOo beautiful! :-)

Teaching Handwork  – (April 26, 2008 at 10:39 AM)  

THank you for sharing...I love history and thinking about time that once was and the people who shared the same space in a different time...wonderful post

Lisa Anne  – (April 26, 2008 at 11:19 AM)  

It was such a hard life back then, but in many ways such a stronger sense of community and people looking out for one another, I dream of going back to these times of a more local economy and getting to know the people around us, I am getting to know my blogging friends better than the people in my area. With peak oil and food scares and US dollar crashing we may no longer have any other choice but to go back to a local community, I think it would not necessarily be a bad thing.

Thanks for taking us on a walk with you.

denise  – (April 27, 2008 at 10:51 AM)  

Exactly. What a beautiful place.

I grew up in a house that was 150 years old, and I always wondered about the stories, the lives, and found out a bit at the library about the people, but it isn't the same as the people in the community, the whole. Nice ramblings.

Susan  – (April 27, 2008 at 2:45 PM)  

Sarah, if only history was taught this way in school! I've always been interested in how people lived before...their struggles, their joys, how they spent their days. These anonymous people are far more intersting to me than the names, dates and events that I had to memorize for history tests. I love cemeteries and old houses and living history museums. I love diaires and letters and quilts and samplers. I do not much care for text books.

Wonderful posts and pictures. Beautiful story.

ilse –   – (April 28, 2008 at 5:08 PM)  

I enjoy reading your post so much sarah !!

The language sometimes holds me back to respond, but reading your stories and things of life are so helpfull to me and reflect the things I look for in live.

thanks Sarah.


Penny in VT –   – (April 30, 2008 at 7:34 AM)  

Wonderful post - as a lifelong VT'er I've walked that mailbox route many, many times in my life - just different mailboxes! I grew up on a 1200 acre farm in Chittenden County - I miss it. Thanks for the memories :) Penny

Simmy –   – (May 2, 2008 at 6:26 AM)  

I'd be one of the first to join you on that walk Sarah.

I love the thought of following in others footsteps in days gone by.

Lovely post by the way.

Lisa  – (May 5, 2008 at 11:49 AM)  

Thank-you for the walk.

Your place is amazing.

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