Friday, June 21, 2013

Rainy Day Hikes and Emily the Cow

After leaving Dave's parents, we began heading North to spend some time with Dave's son in New Hampshire. As usual, we didn't drive straight through, and made several stops at some interesting places along the way. One of our stops was Bigelow Pond State Park, attached to Nipmunk State Forest, in Connecticut. 

When we decided to go for a hike, it was 86 degrees outside and sunny. As we drove, the sky began to darken and the temperature dropped, all the way down to 62 degrees by the time we reached the state park. Still determined to take a hike, we stubbornly snapped a few photos of the lake, put the camera back in the car, and started off, trail map in hand. 

Connecticut's state flower is the Mountain Laurel, which was really abundant around Bigelow Pond. 

Of course, 10 minutes into our hike, it started pouring. We didn't really mind the rain, which was actually refreshing, but there was also heavy thunder and lightening, so we decided to turn back. 

By the time we made it back to the van, we were thoroughly drenched, and so was the forest. This region has been getting so much rain lately that the ground can't absorb any more water. 

These pictures are from about a week ago in New York, and I've been holding on to them for a time where they would fit nicely into the blog. 

This is basically what all of New York looked like as we were driving; fields, playgrounds, anything on low ground was flooding. 

This poor playground is going to take quite some time to dry out! 

The New England states haven't looked quite this flooded, but seeing the state park in the rain made us realize the ground here is just as saturated with water as it was in New York. 

After our hike was ended early, we continued North and came across this Peace Memorial in Sherborn, Massachusetts. 

This is an animal rights memorial and gravesite of Emily the cow. In 1995, Emily was destined for the slaughterhouse when she decided she'd had enough. She jumped the 5 foot fence, which is something cows just don't do. In an Underground Railroad style escapade, local residents helped hide Emily and keep her safe for 40 days until the owners of the Sherborn Peace Abbey read Emily's story in a local newspaper and officially purchased her from the slaughterhouse and gave her a safe home at the Peace Abbey, where she lived for 8 years. 

The doors to Emily's barn were always open, and visitors began making pilgrimages to come and visit her. A week before Emily passed away, she was blessed by a local Hindu priest, who placed a golden thread around his wrist and through the hole in her ear which had once held her number at the slaughterhouse. 

Along with Emily's statue, the Peace Memorial had dozens of signs and placards, which contained quotes from well-known peace activists and prayers for peace from many different religions. 

This Peace Memorial has seen its share of famous visitors, and Yoko Ono reportedly donated $40,000 to the Peace Abbey. 

The memorial also contains a statue of Gandhi. "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good it does is only temporary- the evil it does is permanent." 

A memorial to unknown civilians killed in war. 

When we visited the Peace Memorial, we noticed the buildings next to it appeared to be in disrepair, and wondered what they had once been. After some research, we learned the buildings used to make up the Peace Abbey, a multi-faith retreat center that contained information from 12 different religions, held weekly meditation sessions, and built the Peace Memorial and installed the sculptures of Gandhi and Emily. The Peace Abbey is now closed, but its documents and artifacts have been donated to UMass Boston's library, where they laid the foundation for the University's Center for Peace. If you're interested in reading more, take a peek at this article

"In oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either that key or the door to open, except yourself." 
-Krishnamurti (1895-1968) 


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