All posts filed under: Audacity

Blacks in Concord

  It is hard to know many of the details of the lives of early enslaved African Americans in Concord, Massachusetts because they were, like white women and children, treated as property rather than as citizens of early Concord.  In the seventeenth century Concord was a subsistence farming community, so college educated intellectuals, such as ministers, lawyers, or doctors, appear to have often relied upon enslaved workers to maintain their households and farms.  But they didn’t tend to leave posterity their names or life details. Concord’s founding minister, the Rev. Peter Bulkeley, and some subsequent First Parish in Concord ministers prior to the American Revolution, appear to have kept slaves at least some of the time.  The church record books include occasional references to enslaved members, but like white women and children, they were seated separately, and were not counted as full or paying members at the time. The first previously enslaved African American to buy land in Concord was John Jack, born 1712, who built his homestead on swampland near the edge of Great …

A New England Colonial town

My family heritage is about fifty percent White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) New Englanders with most of the rest being descended from Swedish immigrants who moved to Worcester in the late nineteenth century to work in the precision tool industry. I am descended from the pilgrim John Alden, who helped to pacify and destroy the indigenous people of Cape Cod.  But I am also descended from the Marlboro farmer Abner Goodale who fought with the rebels at Concord’s Old North Bridge on April 19, 1775.  And also, the WASP loyalist Peter Collicutt, who defending king and country fled to Canada during the American revolution.  It is important we know the histories and heritage of our place in this world. In the late 1620’s the Musketaquid river valley, where Concord would be founded, were open and idyllic pastures and farmlands previously cultivated by a tribe of the Massachusetts indigenous people.  It was twenty miles through the deep dark forest to the nearest settled WASP town, but there were remnants of the indigenous people living in this area …

Concord’s Indigenous People

For millennia indigenous people traveled long distances through the forest to live seasonally in Musketaquid.  After spring planting many tribes often summered along the Atlantic coast with its bountiful fish, clams and lobster.  It was a life in tune with nature and their environment. In the early sixteenth century they began interacting with English fishermen and explorers. The indigenous people would trade with them along the shore then travel back up what we call the Merrimack and Concord rivers to Musketaquid, at the confluence of three rivers, in time for the late summer harvest.  The coming of the English and French explorers destroyed their world. Members of the indigenous tribes in this area that became Concord numbered in the tens of thousands.  However, after European contact, a plague broke out among the indigenous people decimating their numbers.  By the 1630’s European plagues and diseases, and warfare with some of the English settlers, had reduced their numbers over 90% to a few hundred indigenous people. In the early 1630’s William Wood was an English explorer, adventurer, …

being transcendentalist today

I was doing my walking meditation around Walden Pond one day this past winter when I came upon a  park ranger who is a friend of mine.  She asked me what do I say when asked if there are any transcendentalists living in Concord today?  I said I’m one.  Thus began a conversation that resulted in my giving a forty five minute talk on being transcendentalist today at the new Walden Pond Visitor’s Center on the Sunday afternoon of April school vacation week.   Here is the link to that talk if you are interested in how a modern transcendentalist engages Concord’s wildness. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i6u4oHbs4itkl-G74L-Qzp7FCXEIhksA/view

Hidden Sunrise

Traveling in the high Himalayas is as remarkable for what is seen as for what remains unseen.  This is a magical and obscure place which continually challenges one’s faith and imagination. After a few days spent exploring around Kathmandu our bus ascends the switchback trails, clinging to the mountainside, and semi-paved roadway, to rise in elevation nearly a mile above the valley to Club Himalaya Nagarkot in the Bhaktapur district. I’ve come to experience the mountain sunrise so have requested a guest room with a large glass sliding door looking out onto a small balcony facing due east.  We look down upon the small ravine in which this village sits, and across the expansive Kathmandu valley beyond to the Himalayan mountain range in the far distance. That night there is rain and lightning on the mountains so I now have limited expectations for the coming of the dawn.  But I leave the curtains and the glass slide open for first light. The morning birds begin to sing just after 5:15 am when it still dark.  …

Nepal and Bhutan

My first book SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing took twenty months to go from concept through eleven drafts to published author.  It has been on the market for about seven months now and seems to have found its audience, exceeding my admittedly modest expectations.  But before it was even published i had the genesis for my second book. Over the last eighteen months Spiritual Pilgrim: Mystic Journeys of Pilgrimage has gone through thirteen drafts.  Today I sent the final manuscript to my publisher for proofing and interior design with a planned launch date of September 2018.  Hurrah!  Having spent 18 months reflecting, remembering, dreaming, and writing about spiritual pilgrimages, it feels like time for me to go into the mystic once again and embrace the divine mystery on its own terms. I’ve just scheduled my Uber to pick me up in twelve hours and take me to Logan airport to embark on a pilgrimage to Nepal and Bhutan.  We will begin by visiting the Swayambhunath and Boudhanath, and Pashupatinath temples in Kathmandu.  Then off to the rural …

April 19, 1775

This is the tale of intrigue you perhaps never heard behind the battle that morning of April 19, 1775.  Rebellious English colonists had been preparing for this day for months.  On February 1st the Second (illegal) Massachusetts Provincial Congress, with John Hancock presiding, called for the rebellion’s growing military supplies to be gathered and stored in Concord.  By March 9th General Gage, Massachusetts’ Military Governor, had a complete list of quantities and types of weapons stored there, and where exactly each item was hidden.  Many weapons were stored on the farm of Colonial Militia Col. James Barrett. On March 20th Gage sent two British soldiers in disguise to Concord to meet with those citizens loyal to king and country to plan the route for a military excursion to destroy the weapons and military supplies.  They dined and spent the night with Daniel Bliss, a prominent lawyer and son of the former minister of the village church, First Parish in Concord.  Concord had been turned into an armed camp, with fourteen pieces of cannon, a large …