Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seeing With More Than Your Eyes

Pool in Brimfield.
My brother, Kirk, came over on Saturday afternoon.  We had planned to get together for a while so that we could go out on a weekend morning, and take some photographs of the area.

Kirk is a lot like I was years ago.  Boston, Framingham, Worcester, Albany, and then Los Angeles, in that order, and with nothing in between.  Central Massachusetts was a term, not a location.  Although, my brother has lived in the most southern town in Worcester County for 25 years, he seldom ventured out west.  Now he does since his job transferred him to a different facility in Worcester this summer.

A whole new world has opened up for him since the transfer, and as it did for me since my moving to Sturbridge ten years ago.

Yesterday morning we woke up very early in order to catch the sunrise with our cameras.  It was dark.  Really dark.  In recent days it has stayed darker, longer in the morning.  Another sure sign of change, and it will be accelerating.

I took Kirk to Quabog Pond in Brookfield, and we pulled into the parking area at the boat ramp and waited for sunrise.  Well, daylight did come, but the cloud cover prevented the glorious sunrise one would expect for a Sunday morning.

Heron at Quabog Pond
in Brookfield
No worries though.  After the grey sky revealed itself, it also revealed what else was on the water waiting for daylight.  The Great Blue Heron at the left is something we see out here all the time, and is common as pigeons in Milford.  After we left the parking lot we found this one standing in the shallows, so we pulled over and watched him fish for sometime.  They may be common, but they are still wonderful to watch, especially if the curtain of night was lifted from them just for you.

After our encounter, I took my brother on a tour of Brookfield, West Brookfield, Warren, Brimfield and Sturbridge, and along the way I gave the required tour guide speech, my favorite part.  We stopped along the way to capture the scenery in our lenses.

Boston may have their Citgo Sign overlooking Fenway Park,
but Warren has one overlooking their sunflowers.
When one is unfamiliar with what we have at our fingertips here in Central Massachusetts, they will sit back in their seat in their vehicle they are in, and flip their head back and forth like they just left Shawshank for the first time in 30 years.  I love watching those reactions.  This weekend was no different.  Kirk enjoyed himself a great deal, and learned a lot more about the area where his brother's family have made their home.

The scenery in anyplace we are accustomed to can become too familiar after a period of time, but every once in a while something we have not seen before will show itself, and renew our appreciation for where we live.  That can also happen when we are seeing things through another's eyes for the first time.  It happened for me yesterday morning, too.

In the rain along the Quinegbaug River in Sturbridge
Opening our eyes wider, every so often, and really looking around us is the cure when our world becomes too familiar.  The renewed appreciation comes naturally from there.

I have been interested in photography for a very long time, but Kirk has only recently taken to preserving the world around him onto an SD card.  He is becoming quite good, and his eye for further artistic manipulation of an image is something that I never had.  Couple that talent with his virginal exposure to world around us out here,  and you have the ingredients for a long lasting relationship with the land.

Old rail station in Warren
I have said before that we all need to sit back,
take a deep breath, and open our eyes wider than usual, and take in what is around us.  Make it a monthly ritual, it doesn't take long. A few moments of seeing will last for a very long time.

When we do this, we are empowered to not only appreciate more things around us, but to see things from an angle others don't have.  That ability is invaluable to not only us, but to those that rely on our vision, and the input it provides.

The photography may not always be great, but the exercise it provides the head is something I have come to need, and that need now seems to be running in the family.

Photo taken in our backyard taken by my brother, Kirk.

Click on photos for larger images

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