Fall Near The Great Blue Hill (Part 4)

October 22nd

She is Marlena, widow of James. Born in Germany. Former biology researcher.

In my stealthy way, I stole her name from the mailbox and draw it out like a 5-year-old learning to spell. Phonetically. Doing this makes me realize how beautiful I find the name. A few google searches supplied the additional bio.


Why does this sound familiar? This is a name I can remember — usually the hard part. I’m still the only person I know who gets excited about meeting someone for the sake of their name. Still- something makes me more curious about her than I am typical of strangers. I cannot pinpoint it. But she is a neighbor just mere seconds away. Maybe an interesting new person to get to know?

When I feel better — my curiosity tends to get the best of me. Which might explain the google searches as well. So far — I am intrigued enough to keep digging. I’ve learned some basic background information thus far.

She slowly strolls back and forth on our circular street, allowing her small dog to lead the way.

Her bust appears “German” to me, angular and sort of cropped, very neat. She looks extremely competent and very sad — also tall. She must be 6′,0″ with a straight body, like an arrow. I’d estimate she’s in her late 60’s or early 70’s.


A simple sophistication exudes her and interests me. I’ve seen her through the downstairs window, and have been “engineering” an opportunity to cross her path.

A very foreign type of behavior for me. I have also got to meet that little dog.

He reminds me of a mix between Alf from the late 80’s tv show and the Downy Snuggle Bear. There is a new dog and I am 6 years old all over again.

By “happenchance”, I approach the mailbox as she nears one late morning. The dog leads her to me in excitement and he’s as friendly in person as he appears from inside. He is Buddy — Marlena’s loyal and sole companion, now that Jim has passed.

She is also warm, but painfully shy. I see and understand the nuance immediately.

We exchange a few words and have a pleasant if albeit short exchange. I feel relieved to have made the extra effort and return to the house with a yearning to learn more.

Should I invite her over for coffee or tea? Is that still an actual thing or will that set off alarm bells? Honestly, I do not know — these types of things dumbfound me occasionally. To display interest in others, I have become accustomed to using the “like” feature on apps such as Instagram and Twitter. Coffee would be a big step forward and luckily, my Keurig takes care of the mechanics of coffee brewing.

I never take actions like this, as my hesitant nature typically gets the best of me, especially with newness. That nagging doubt — that cannot be rationalized or pushed away. I can fight it but it still remains, lingering — always.

I need to understand it better. I must.

Our paths cross a few more times over the next few weeks in a similar fashion — always pleasant yet brief.


Fall Near The Great Blue Hill (Part 3)

October 13th

A slow fall Saturday provides a good enough excuse to perform some yard cleanup. Workers from the highway transportation office recently cut back a sizeable portion of the brush that borders our property — an ongoing effort to curb roadside accidents involving the growing whitetail population.

Now, besides the sizeable leaf accumulation — many branches and other debris remain from their recent work.


Our neighbor from across the street, Janet (Nathaniel Farrington’s eldest daughter, now into her 70’s and living directly across the street) notices us and drops by for a brief visit.

After our casual goodbyes, as an almost afterthought, she informs us that our other neighbor Jim recently passed after a third and fatal stroke. Apparently, his wife will now occupy the large yellow house diagonal to ours — alone I assume.

The fact that I met someone only weeks from their death strikes me as oddly fascinating and sad.

This wife is a complete mystery to me. Not that I spend much time investigating the neighbors. The earth here tends to take most of my spotlight these days.

This oasis of flora and fauna holds a very natural New England beauty and sends me daydreaming inside a Walt Whitman poem.

And the animal population — especially the whitetail deer and turkeys, make frequent appearances in our backyard searching for food and shelter.

Perhaps they visit to escape the sanctioned bow-hunts in the larger reserve area; a periodic attempt to thin a burdensome whitetail population. I welcome them and enjoy the chance to view them up close, as they forage nearby — preferably not in our already cursed garden.

Fall Near the Great Blue Hill – A Visual Story


The Great Blue Hill at Dusk


September 1956

Day breaks over the Great Blue Hill of Massachusetts as the low and heavy rumble of large excavating equipment fills the surrounding air.

The equipment is clearing the path for the first section of interstate 93 — the newest planned addition to the national highway system. Once complete it will be the first located entirely within the borders of New England.

The interstate will intersect the large and open base area of the hill, the largest in a range encompassing the Blue Hills reservation — and straddles the towns of Canton, Milton, Quincy, Randolph and Braintree among others.

Here in Canton (population 7,000) will sit the first on/off ramp “exit” and will connect with Interstate 95 snaking up the east coast through Providence. Then on to Boston Harbor (11 miles from here as the hawk flies) and winding points north in New Hampshire, Maine, and eventually ending 190 miles to the east and north in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

A group of 6 small family owned farms now dot the landscape, all to be demolished in preparation for the construction — just 3 of the family farmhouses are deemed lucky enough (and structurally sound) to be relocated.

Currently, the final remaining farmhouse is being placed on a tractor-trailer rig after being separated from its foundation. The simple white farmhouse constructed in 1921 sat upon a 10-acre parcel and nicely sheltered a small family of 3.

The Farrington Family of Canton.

Some forethought was given to their plight via the creation of the Blue Hills nature reserve and an underground passageway allowing for safer animal passage from the hill into its relatively flat outer base —especially vital to the rather large population of whitetail deer, who often forage the greater area for food and shelter.

In approximately 10 minutes, it will begin hovering 216 yards due east to a slightly elevated resting position.

This area and the greater Neponset River Valley is rich in natural beauty and home to a diverse wildlife population. As with any infrastructure project of this scale, the natural inhabitants of this area will also be displaced.


The 6 Dimensions of Personality

The 6 Major Dimensions of Personality as outlined in the Hexaco Personality Inventory – revised (2010)

The HEXACO model of personality structure is a six-dimensional model of human personality that was created by Ashton and Lee and explained in their book, The H Factor of Personality[1] based on findings from a series of lexical studies involving several European and Asian languages. The six factors, or dimensions, include Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O).

Each factor is composed of traits with characteristics indicating high and low levels of the factor. The HEXACO model was developed through similar methods as other trait taxonomies and builds on the work of Costa and McCrae[2] and Goldberg.[3] The model, therefore, shares several common elements with other trait models.

However, the HEXACO model is unique mainly due to the addition of the Honesty-Humility dimension.

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