Back in the US of A

It is strange to be back in Massachusetts. On a Sunday. The only noises that greets me are those of a neighbor’s lawn mower, a light breeze in the lilac bush, birds cheeping at each other from tree to tree.

If I were in Cambridge still? It would be impossible to hear those sounds.

First of all, they have magic grass that never needs to be mowed, apparently (or at least not on Sundays)–all I ever saw was plush, green lawn, and porters yelling at people to keep off the courts. (Unless, of course, you’re British, and it’s between the hours of 12 and 2 p.m., in which case, a British student informed us, then you may picnic on the grass).

Second of all, even if they were mowing the grass, and a nice breeze was ruffling lilac leaves, and birds were cheeping–it’s a  Sunday. You wouldn’t be able to hear any of that. Nope, not above the church bells: clang, clang, clang, clang. Trills, up and down: scales, over and over; the hour, chimed in a Sunday-special syncopated groove… on the hour, at quarter past the hour, and at random intervals, for 10+ minutes at a time. At each church. Let’s not talk about how many there are in the small city. It’s enough to say that the sounds are lovely, until you try to concentrate on anything–like getting your reading done, or talking to another human being within a one-mile radius. And Caius, where I was staying, was literally only a few feet from half a dozen churches and their bells.

Ah, the quietness of small-town Massachusetts.

It’s lovely… and somewhat sad.

Good-bye for now, Cambridge, England! Until we meet again.

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