Then it was on to the Buttrick Mansion, a lovely old colonial home built on a bluff that overlooks the Concord River and the Old North Bridge. While I was there, two youngsters completed their requirements to be Junior Rangers and were applauded and introduced to the visiters who happened to be nearby. I'm not sure all they had to do to accomplish this, but it appeared to be a big deal, both to them and the ranger who signed the completion certificate.
Next up was Orchard House, home to the Alcott family for 20 years (they had moved 22 times in the previous 20 years!). I've been to this house many times before, but I always see and learn new things. That's one of its appeals for me. This time they had Anna's (Meg in Little Women) wedding dress on display. I soooo wanted to get a picture of it, but of course no pictures were allowed inside. It's quite beautiful...and exactly the way Louisa describes it in Little Women--a lovely grey silk. I'm always charmed as well as inspired to spend time in this house. Today it was especially meaningful to me, having recently read the delightful The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and currently reading the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning double biography Eden's Outcasts. In talking with the excellent docent, I learned that this summer's "Conversational Series" will feature a lecture by the author of this book. You can be sure that I signed up to be there to hear him! BTW, LMA's 1/2 moon desk where she wrote her famous book is situated between these two windows in her bedroom. That's Queen Anne's Lace dried, preserved, and hung in the panes--something I still want to try for myself.
As always, I had to pick up a few things from the gift shop. Today's treasure: a card with a 1845 LMA quote on it: "I had an early run in the woods before the dew was off the grass. The moss was like velvet, and as I ran under the arches of yellow and red leaves I sang for joy, my heart was so bright and the world so beautiful. I stopped at the end of the walk and saw the sunshine out over the wide "Virginia meadows." It seemed like going through a dark life or grave into heaven beyond. A very strange and solemn feeling came over me as I stood there, with no sound but the rustle of the pines, no one near me, and the sun so glorious, as for me alone. It seemed as if I felt God as I never did before, and I prayed in my heart that I might keep that happy sense of nearness all my life."
It was, indeed, a collection of revelations that transcended my expectations for the day. Coming on the heals of a lengthy job interview, this was the perfect antidote for the stress of trying to decide what to do next. As the day progressed, I felt more and more that I could, in the words of Thoreau, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."