East Coast Shoot, Day 3: “a beautiful region of rocky glens and trout brooks”
June 21, 2009
Years later, Olmsted recalled a hike with his brother to his aunt’s house in Cheshire. “I was but nine when I once walked sixteen* miles over a strange country with my brother who was but six, to reach it. We were two days on the road, spent the night at a rural inn which I saw still standing a few years ago, and were so tired when we arrived that, after sitting before that great fireplace and being feasted, we found that our legs would not support us and were carried off to bed. It was a beautiful region of rocky glens and trout brooks.” I imagine their adventure. It is a sunny day. The dusty road outside Hartford winds its way through rolling meadows . Olmsted is in the lead, probably talking, pointing out birds and trees in the hedgerows along the verge. He is excited about the prospect of adventure. He holds his younger brother by the hand. John is less sure about the outing. He is thinking that perhaps they should go home before it gets too late. But he gets along, trusting that Frederick will find the way, as he always seems to do.
[from Witold Rybczynski’s A Clearing in the Distance]
*Olmsted, in his post-hike haze, must have miscalculated the distance he traveled. Cheshire, Connecticut, in fact, is nearly 30 miles from Hartford.