The Mystery of Meteors
By Eleanor Lerman
I am out before dawn, marching a small dog through a meager park
Boulevards angle away, newspapers fly around like blind white birds
Two days in a row I have not seen the meteors
though the radio news says they are overhead
Leonid's brimstones are barred by clouds; I cannot read
the signs in heaven, I cannot see night rendered into fire
And yet I do believe a net of glitter is above me
You would not think I still knew these things:
I get on the train, I buy the food, I sweep, discuss,
consider gloves or boots, and in the summer,
open windows, find beads to string with pearls
You would not think that I had survived
anything but the life you see me living now
In the darkness, the dog stops and sniffs the air
She has been alone, she has known danger,
and so now she watches for it always
and I agree, with the conviction of my mistakes.
But in the second part of my life, slowly, slowly,
I begin to counsel bravery. Slowly, slowly,
I begin to feel the planets turning, and I am turning
toward the crackling shower of their sparks
These are the mysteries I could not approach when I was younger:
the boulevards, the meteors, the deep desires that split the sky
Walking down the paths of the cold park
I remember myself, the one who can wait out anything
So I caution the dog to go silently, to bear with me
the burden of knowing what spins on and on above our heads
For this is our reward:Come Armageddon, come fire or flood,
come love, not love, millennia of portents--
there is a future in which the dog and I are laughing
Born into it, the mystery, I know we will be saved
This is Plimoth Plantation, a working museum about the Pilgrims' landing and the influence they had on the people already here. It's also the setting of that PBS series on colonial life.
The recreation of the pilgrims' settlement, two-thirds smaller than the original, features actors recreating real people who came to America on the Mayflower, including their jobs and what is known of their personal lives...
...while the Wampanoag village recreation has local Native Americans talking about their tribes and traditions. Plimoth Plantation, which also has crafts, a nature walk and an exhibit on myths and reality concerning the first Thanksgiving...
...is a few miles from Plymouth Rock, now protected from tourists trying to chip pieces off in a pit surrounded by bars. It does get rained on, however.
The recreated Mayflower overlooks the harbor, here with a steamboat going by...
...and here, looking over the prow at the sailboats anchored nearby.
Today we had our first inclement weather since setting out nearly a week ago, but it was quite cooperative -- it poured while we ate lunch at Plimoth Plantation and again while we were driving into Boston in the late afternoon, but not while we were walking around. The original plan was to get into Boston early and go to the Museum of Fine Arts, then go to the hotel in the evening, but we were all sort of fried from too many days in the sun and my younger son had begun to get restless from all the history, so we came to the hotel, let them go swimming and are in the midst of two huge loads of laundry.
On the positive side, this hotel has free DSL internet access, plus an enormous free breakfast bar with waffles, and we're in a suite that costs only a few dollars more than the nightmarish Howard Johnson's of a few days ago in suburban Hartford. So I am slowly catching up on mail! The only news I have been able to get before today has been hurricane horror and the governor of New Jersey (about whom I had things to say, but they're probably controversial, and I am not at all in the mood for a debate so I will just wish him, his family, his successor and his constituents the best). Now we are watching the Olympics opening ceremonies and it is strangely refreshing.
Finished The Letter of Marque, which made me almost as sniffly as The Reverse of the Medal. Suspect I am a sap for Jack and Stephen, heh. Am I going to like The Thirteen Gun Salute? I keep being afraid that sooner or later I have to read one that I don't think is even better than the last. Tomorrow we are going sailing on a tall ship in Boston Harbor and I am ridiculously excited, even though the only time in my life I ever almost got seasick, it was in weather like the sort that's forecast for tomorrow!