Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2005-2006

Short breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

An autumn trip to the USA
(not to the embarrassing parts of it, though)

Boston and the Blue Hills of Milton

We're in Brookline, to be a little bit more precise, which is sort of wrapped around by Boston, "embraced" as it were. We're here to reconstitute our nuclear programme after the two-week environmental meetings in Uganda, a little welcome relaxation at Kristin's house (above). It's 23 November 2005.

This is Jamaica Pond in Boston, at the Brookline frontier, a 24-hectare (60-acre) glacier leftover that caters to joggers, strollers and pram-pushers, fisherfolk (it's stocked annually), and convalescing survivors of meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties.

A walk around the Jamaica Pond takes 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours, depending upon how recently the meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties pounded its final gavel. This year we're in the one-hour range.

Jamaica Pond was a productive hub of the ice-cutting industry in the 19th century, much as Detroit was for automobiles in the 1950s. But its industrial significance passed away, alas, leaving millions of poor ice-cutters out of work and their promised pensions lost in the bankruptcy courts; much as Detroit . . . well, never mind.

Jamaica Pond was officially designated a Park in 1894, and maybe such a bright future awaits Detroit. It's also said to be the USA's first reservoir, whatever that means, drinking-water presumably, but in any case it's way way too late for Detroit in that regard. (This narrator was privileged to witness Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River catch fire in 1969.)

Not only a Park, but part of Frederick Law Olmsted's "Emerald Necklace" chain of public parks stretching through Boston, created in 1892. (We're also very fond of Olmsted's World's End near Hull and we convalesce there regularly as well, and of course Olmsted's Central Park in NYC is okay, too.)

The little spots on the water are actually ducks, or at least some kind of birds that don't mind sitting in water that's on the point of a phase change into a solid.

There's a better view of the ducks, or whatever they are. Now let's go for a hike. Where shall we go?

The Grand Tetons

Or maybe something closer to home -- the Blue Hills

The Blue Hills Reservation is in Milton, just south of the Boston town line. Here hikers stride confidently up the "Skyline Loop Trail", following "blue blazes" through the Department of Conservation and Recreation's nearly 3,000 hectares (7,000 acres) of scrub woods and marked trails, 200km worth of trails, in fact, and the distinctive grey rocks sticking up out of the ground everywhere, quintessentially New England.

Hopelessly lost already, hikers Kristin, Jodi, and Sir Charles himself pause in their scrutiny of a well-placed map of the region, but learn little.

A lodge or lookout at the top of, is it "Great Blue Hill"? Probably, nothing seems to be higher anywhere in the neighborhood, and if so, we've now ascended to nearly 190.5 meters above sea level. But there are reputed to be 22 hills in these "highest mountains in New England south of Maine", and it's possible that we're on the wrong one.

From where we are now, wherever that may be, on 25 November 2005, that's Boston just over there, and the sea beyond it.

It's a lovely building, but it's a bit like an Escher drawing, there's no actual inside of it, it's all part of the outside. Like a "Klein bottle" that's inside itself. At least you can get out of the wind for a while.

Leaving Great Blue Hill, or whichever hill that was, with grey rocks all about. The Red Indians who lived here before President Bush's ancestors invaded and made a mess of things were called the "Massachusett", it's said, because they were the "people of the great hills".

These hills are quite pretty (and so close to downtown Boston!), but if the Massachusetts were really the "people of the great hills" they were setting their sights awfully low.

However that may be, the Blue Hills Reservation was purchased by the Boston parks commission in 1893 and still provides an oasis of near-natural relaxation well out of the range of the gunfire downtown.

Trip to carefully selected parts of the USA,
November 2005

Boston: Jamaica Pond, Blue Hills

Newport, Rhode Island

Jamestown, Narragansett, Galilee

Brookline and the Bosnian diner in Somerville


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 31 January 2006, revised 15 November 2007, 14 August 2014.


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