Sunday, April 15, 2018

This pond, and the surrounding woodland, is the heart of the town where I live. It is an enchanted place that abounds with many stories and legends, some dating back to pre-colonial times when the water was known as Lake Innitou or Mirror of the Spirit by the Aberginian people. Over the years at least forty-five people have drowned there, which is astonishing considering that the average depth of the pond is about ten feet.


There have been many sightings of ghosts and other unexplained phenomenon at the pond.  One Native American legend claims that the pond was the ancient site of a battle between the gods of light and dark. The gods of light trapped the gods of dark in the water and drowned them. Some have seen mysterious blue lights floating over the water and in the woods. Last year, hundreds of fish washed up dead on shore. No one knows why.

Several local writers have collected the many legends and tales about the pond and the surrounding woods and hills of our town. Some of the best can be found in Marie Coady's, Woburn: Hidden Tales of a Tannery Town and Parker Lindall Converse's, Legends of Woburn (1642 -1892) [The full text of this book is available at the link.]
   
The pond is a place of remarkable beauty with some of the best bird watching in the area. I walk its wooded trails every day I can--it is my favorite spot on all the earth.⚘

 I have been thinking lately about stories and how they bind us to places and people. Perhaps it is the stories we hold in common, more than anything else, that imbue us with a sense of belonging and identity.

The digital age, with its emphasis on the individual, has led to solitary narrative building which has done much to unravel the old stories' cultural relevancy. Time will tell what effect this will have on us--both inwardly and outwardly. So far, I see a lot of  people desperately trying to find "themselves" (and a community) by grasping at each passing trend from simplicity to plant-based diets. Long ago, before fossil fuel made us magically mobile in our high speed trains, airplanes and automobiles, we were defined primarily by kith and kin. Kith referred to the land. The phrase "kith and kin" originally denoted one's geography and relatives. Out of those two elements sprang the ultimate uniting force: tradition--shared songs, stories, rituals, crafts, and folkways. 

Making my Great Aunt Clarabelle's scrumptious custard for banana cream pie.

My mother's dear friend Carol's braided Easter bread.

In these rocky New England hills bordered by the sea, I follow a path consisting of hearth, garden, woods/pond, and church. I never tire of this well-worn geography. Much of my time is spent in the kitchen making food for hungry people from "receipts" given to me by family and friends. There is so much love shared in recipes.

Despite weekly snow flurries, nature is slowly beginning to emerge from her slumber. On a recent pond walk, I saw a muskrat swimming in a vernal pool while the spirit of a birch tree watched on from one of his wise, old eyes. 

April ~ Pink Moon, so named for the wild ground phlox that blooms this month
























Wyatt (gray) and Rhys (cream) turned 5 months old on April 6th


 

Last week I made a Hummingbird Cake from this recipe to mixed reviews. The frosting was excellent; we all agreed on that. If I ever make this cake again, I would double the pineapple and use half as much banana as the recipe calls for.

This past week there has been painting and knitting happening. Amy, Emmeline and I painted eighteen rocks the other day--little treasures for people to find on  the trail at the pond--as part of our town's "Kindness Rocks" project.

I'm knitting a peach colored, seamless yoked sweater and snowbaby bootees for my nephew's first little peach due in June.


If I'm honest, April has been a pretty miserable month weather-wise and otherwise, as well, with too many doctors appointments and generally low spirits; but, I know there are rose days ahead, and there is always, always plenty to be thankful for on a daily basis. ♥

Love and roses,
Sue

PS: My blog redecorating inspiration: Elaine, Sarah, and Lisa 

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing about your place. <3 Seems a lot of stories about places involve ghosts--I was thinking over the books I have. I'll admit that I look forward to making new stories with my favorite places in the years to come. I made a banana cream pie last week, too! Your bread looks lovely and those cats, so sweet. Spring comes in fits and starts here, with a chance of snow tonight.

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  2. your beautiful photos are such a balm....*happy sigh*

    and what an intriguing place, your pond....so very full of stories.

    the face in the lichen! oh my!!! and beech spirits...i have a game with myself where i search for the green man in all of the trees. xoxo

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  3. Your knitting, the tulips, the cats - it's all so very cozy!

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  4. this weather has been cold rainy and snowy overall. We had one nice day only to have it taken away. The snow flakes were fat yesterday but thankfully they melted. Technology creates new communities but the face to face interactions are missing and what humans need (I think). I try to manage how much time I spend on line and then seek out the people. Going to the gym gives me lots of people interactions which is nice.

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  5. What a lovely post. And I adore your warm and cosy new look, it's very inviting. I was actually just this morning thinking about returning my blog to a more minimal look, then I opened your page and it was so lovely, I realised I had to keep my wallpaper too :-)

    I love your kindness rocks!

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  6. Oh yes and I love that you have a Great Aunt Clarabelle!

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  7. Your photos make me feel better about out impending Winter! We seemed to have skipped Autum here in Oz and the days are fast turning into very cold days indeed!

    I'm spending the day indoors writing and reading, cuddled up next to my heater, tending to sick children, thanks for lovely photots to cheer my soul xx

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  8. What a beautiful post. I’m so happy to have found your blog. I love the rock painting idea and hummingbird cake sounds really interesting! There are some places that feel almost like family to me, I am so attached to them, they are a part of me in a way. I think the idea of kith used to be more related to the word kin. People, the land and its stories would all be entwined. I’ve heard about a lot of mass animal deaths recently. I don’t know what is at the root of such phenomena, pollution perhaps? Perhaps there is an even deeper cause. Looking forward to reading more posts! Xx @lilies_and_pearls

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