I finished my trip by staying overnight with an old friend and her partner in Northhampton, Massachusetts. It's the home of Smith College -- not to mention Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and their daughter Coco -- where both of them teach and a beautiful place indeed. Sunday evening she and I went for a short walk from their house along this lovely stream:On the way back, we had a great view of the Smith College boathouse, which I complicated with the sort of extremely-out-focus forgeound I've been favoring of late:Yesterday morning, before she went to teach her first class of the semester, we drove to a nearby state park and went for a short hike halfway up a wooded hill. That's where I spotted the birch tree featured in last night's entry, as well as this rocky overhang:
The whole visit was lovely, particularly coming right after so much stress. And it made me feel connected to my childhood home, since the differences between the landscape of inland New England and inland Pennsylvania are pretty slight. The main one, ironically, is that our thirty-five acres of woods in northern Bucks County were entirely birchless. Neither the umber-barked river birches common in Maryland nor the white-barked sort that shine brightly in forests further north grow naturally in that part of Pennsylvania. And I'm surely from birch-loving stock, so the improvement on home was greatly appreciated.