Summer lawns

Summer lawns

The suburbs sustain their own landscape aesthetic, different from that of the city or country.  Whenever I visit my brother, who lives in a sweet subdivision in Palatine, I realize how much I crave those expanses of lawn and the calming sight of manicured bushes and sheltering trees.  Like many city-dwellers, I grew up in the suburbs, a habitat I nostalgically associate with order and peace.

The farthest pond

Around the South Pond, © 2013 Celia Her City

Three years ago, the South Pond, one of the ponds in Lincoln Park (just south of the children’s zoo), was renovated.  The pond was emptied.  Its bottom and banks were regraded, new boardwalks were built, new plantings put in.  The pond had fallen into sluggishness and disuse.

The revitalization has been a great popular success.  Its appearance has been changing dramatically from one season to the next, as the new plantings have grown in.

This is what it looked like the other day, as I rode by on the bus.  Of the three ponds near my home, this one is the farthest, so I’m not able to visit it easily, though I wish I could.

The ordinary hotel

An ordinary hotel (Second-floor view of the pool of the Best Western Plus at Historic Concord)

More restful than the most luxurious spa are the ordinary hotels of some Massachusetts towns.  Many sit on large tracts of land, with mature trees and perennial beds, lawns mown with the precision devoted to baseball fields.

A morning stint by the pool might include the songs of real birds or a turtle-sighting.  Precisely because the hotel’s interior contains little of interest, it is relaxing to inhabit.  There is little stimulation, little to provoke thought, setting the mind at ease.

The hotel is a silent community, where the density that might produce bustle or camaraderie neutralizes and separates.  Repetition tranquilizes and subdues.  Occasionally a guest will appear on one of the lawn chairs or balconies, to gaze out at the still and empty scene.

A rest here of a night or two will drive a body off, in quest of clamor.

Red maple on grounds of ordinary hotel, © 2013 Celia Her City

Hotel grounds, Concord, © 2013 Celia Her City