America Day 30 – Harvard

The crazy people are more eloquent in Harvard.

I’m here by the college and somebody is trying to sell me their poems. Someone else attacked us verbally earlier and wished us all a horrible day. So far it hasn’t manifested itself. Quite the opposite. It’s been lovely here.

I’ve been soaking in the feeling of familiarity. Talkative mental people. Airy autumnal streets. Wearing a jumper. No more wet heat. The sky is a reassuring and familiar shade of threatening grey. Buildings are made out of stone. There’s a bit more logic in the layout. It’s more haphazard than the layouts in Indiana and Illinois and Texas. It feels like it responds to reality rather than an idea of a plan. There’s a bit more history up here in Massachusetts compared to where we were for the last two weeks. There are graveyards from the early 1600’s, old enough to actually feel like they’re old. Memorials in stone. Lots of stuff about the war of independence.

I went and touched John Harvard’s foot. This college area is named for him. He died at 31 and left money to the college. They took his name. That’s one way to make yourself immortal, I guess. Already have money and then give it to someone when you die. Everybody wants to touch his foot, this long dead clergyman from Southwark. Most of his family died of plague. He came all the way over to a new world after leaving Cambridge, and died of TB, bequeathed money to the college and now people touch his foot so much that it’s really shiny.

I bought the street lady’s poems. Tammy, she’s called. They’re eloquent and sad. I’ve been reading them and thinking about how much ground I’ve covered already and how much more there is to cover. Christmas work is sorted now, and I think I’ve found a friend to move into my flat. This time last year I was striking out, challenging my body, walking long and hard in heat and dust in order to lay to rest the vestiges of inner pains long carried unobserved. Now I’m here. Boston. Wellesley. Harvard. New England. Just a stone’s throw over the ocean from home.

Our accommodation is on campus in Wellesley College. This beautifully landscaped women’s college. There’s a lake, flanked by trees bleeding to red and gold in the Massachusetts fall. We have all been given pamphlets warning us to put on bug spray because they’re worried about the mosquitos carrying an equine encephalitis that’s untreatable and often fatal. It’s also incredibly rare and I’m not going to let it stop me strolling around the lake taking in the colours. If my brain swells up just trepan me. Then if I survive I’ll have a different head on things (ha ha). You can take this as permission and intent if I’m lying in a bed mumbling like Rocky post bout.

I think I’ll go into Boston tomorrow and fill up with seafood. One of my Camino buddies lives there. Perfect opportunity! A full circle, and a great thing to be able to see someone from that huge walk here on the other side of the ocean.

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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