Uncommon Joy

When you walk everywhere, you see everything.

Things you missed the last time suddenly give you joy. 
Once you stop, and take a closer look.

Wherever I happen to walk in this beautiful city, it usually takes me across Boston Common.
From my place on Marlborough Street in the Back Bay, it’s a short stroll there.
Whether I am heading up Beacon Hill to the Athenaeum.

On one of my frequent walks along the Freedom Trail, which begins on the Common.

Or just heading over to the North End for a sfogliatelle.

The Common is centrally located.

Which is what probably attracted William Blaxton, the first white man to live there.

He even planted a garden during his stay, from 1625 to 1630.
The spring on the Common must have been very helpful.

It is underneath the Frog Pond, which is normally used as a swimming pool in summer and a skating rink in winter.

Of course, the Common was inhabited long before the Pilgrims set sail.
The Neville Point, a kind of arrowhead, was found by archeologists during a dig on the Common in 1986.
It was dated between 5,500 and 7,500 years ago.

Which makes it about as old as Stonehenge.

The Common has always been a fertile field for archaeology, as it is one of the few places in the city that has always been protected from development.

I saw these guys the other day. They are checking the site of a planned monument to Martin Luther King, to make sure it won’t cover any important artifacts.

A sunny day like today makes everything pretty.

Even the Snake House.

Do you like my Christmas Tree?

It is an annual gift to the city of Boston from the people of Nova Scotia.
In 1917, some ships carrying munitions to the war in Europe blew up in Halifax harbor, and destroyed much of the city.
The Boston Red Cross responded, and the people of Nova Scotia have never forgotten.

Of course, this may be a tad big for it.

The key to understanding the Boston Common lies in the name: a common is land that belongs to all the people.
The commons were used in England as a place where livestock could graze, and the New Englanders continued this tradition.

Boston Common’s 50 acres were dedicated to public use in 1634.
Which makes it the oldest park in the United States.

The cows weren’t kicked off until 1850.

Although the Granary Burying Ground

and the King’s Chapel Burying Ground

are more famous, the Central Burying Ground is right on the Common.

Seek and ye shall find.

I will post about the Common quite often, since it is so central to my Boston experience.

It will be even lovelier in the spring.
But loveliest of all in the snow.

The last word belongs to the Poet.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.