I sometimes feel I need a day off, so I visit a few reliable places of interest. Recently I made my usual trek to Salem. But before I did that, I had lunch. We have several new restaurants in the small city where I live, and I’m beginning to feel quite sophisticated in this old industrial city. At Tartine Kitchen & Eatery I enjoyed a simple lunch before going on to a local museum.
Every summer the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, mounts what only could be called the Summer Show, something light for families, easy on the brain and the eyes. This year it’s Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style. https://www.pem.org/whats-on/2017-08-17/1. I especially like the Art Deco period, which seemed to suit the idea of living at sea for five days just right.
My favorite spot in the museum is the Yin Yu Tang House, which the museum purchased from the family who had lived in the house for 200 years, in Southwestern China. There was some heated discussion later about whether or not China should have let one of its treasures leave the country, but at the time it was sold it wasn’t considered anything but an old house, one of many. You can take a video tour at yinyutang.pem.org. Each family within the family lived in one room, looking out on the walkway/balcony and the courtyard below. This is where I finally understand the focus on the large bed with its elaborate decorations. This piece of furniture takes up most of the space, and is the largest and most important item in the room.
The view of the Chinese House from any angle is beautiful. I took this photo from the memorial park dedicated to the nineteen men and women convicted of witchcraft. You can’t see in this photograph the benches carved with the names and dates and manner of execution of the convicted individuals, but every day I’ve been there I’ve seen people walking through and studying the benches. The Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated in August 1992 by Novel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Many of us who have long family lines in this area discover relatives connected with the witch trials. My distant relation Sarah Warren died in prison before she could be tried and convicted. She refused to name others in order to free herself. That’s a heritage I’m glad to share. http://www.salemweb.com/memorial/memorial.php
I don’t think of these days out as a way to gather ideas for my writing, though of course that often happens. I think of them as a chance to think about other things, or nothing at all. A walking meditation, as it were. It’s all about balance, and letting the mind rest. I often take a book to read and find a quiet place to enjoy it. For me this is a perfect day.
To find my books, for a perfect day, go here: