On Monday, after a weekend when both Tim and I worked, we drove to Boston and visited the MFA.
Tim drove while I read him another installment of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, by Kory Stamper, a book that continues to delight us in its erudition and irreverence.
In preparation for our urban day, we tanked up on extra caffeine en route. We sipped our coffee while wandering through Freight House Antiques in Erving, Massachusetts. Beyond the coffee bar is a huge warehouse of well-organized household goods from the last century. Some of the items stirred strong memories (the glass pitcher we mixed Kool Aid in one childhood summer at Lake Hopatcong). Fortunately, we’d just finished installing the shelves and arranging our serving dishes in our new kitchen, so we knew that we neither needed another pitcher no matter how charming, nor had room for it. We continued on our way.
This was our third trip to the MFA this year, so we’re learning our way through the maze of galleries, becoming familiar with the permanent collection, and delighting in the special exhibits.
I’m learning to look more at the art and less at the explanations, and Tim is learning to pace himself. Because we’re now members and make frequent trips, we no longer attempt to see every single thing every time we go. Whew.
This time, we first viewed the most challenging exhibits. We stopped for lunch before graying out; sought the most unusual exhibits next; drank more coffee; and ended with the works that were easiest for us to view because most familiar.
When we emerged from the museum in the dusk of Eastern Standard Time, the world looked different, more beautiful. We basked in the glow until we merged into rush hour traffic and light rain. Each roundabout was an exercise in patience; each inch of pavement gained, a victory.
Sometime west of Concord, the traffic eased. Tim’s shoulders dropped; I stopped grinding my teeth.
On my way to Boston in the morning, I was eager to hear my clogs clop against the cement sidewalk and take note of urban fashion. On the way home, I eased my clogs off, and relaxed into the comfortably empty landscape as we sped home.
As much as I love getting away, I love living in place even more.