I am up in Cambridge for a meeting on graduate education and Brazil. I did not really want to come up because I was travelling a total of around thirty hours to spend about twenty waking hours on the ground here. But I thought the seminar would be worth it given our commitment to help our Brazilian friends. It has also been worth it for the glorious fall day I got to experience today.
I walked up to Harvard Square and then up to Tufts. It gave me a lot of time to think and enjoy the weather. I walked to the top of the hill at Tufts and just sat there facing the warm autumn sun. This is the same place I sat nine years ago when I was assigned to Fletcher as State Department Fellow. I wrote in my diary that I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have a job that put me in a place like this. Same thing goes today. I closed my eyes and felt the cool but still pleasant breeze carrying the subtle smells of fall.
This place feels like home. It even smells like home. I did not live here very long, but the environment is much like Wisconsin. The smells are familiar. Sense of smell is a persistent memory. I mentioned the fall smell that comes from the falling leaves. Another familiar smell comes from the white pines. There is a “pine smell” but species are different. The white pine is distinctive from the loblolly I enjoy in Virginia. My favorite pine smell remains the Ponderosa pine. If you were blindfolded and dropped down in a pine forest, I believe you could tell which kind of pine forest you were in just by the smell. Actually, I don’t think I could identify other sorts of pines, only those three.
Anyway, tomorrow I am busy. I have a talk at Fletcher School and then the Laspau Harvard meeting. I plan to walk from my hotel up to Tufts and then back to Harvard. It is a long walk; I figure about an hour and a half, but a joy the whole way.
My pictures show Harvard and Tufts and environs. The last two are just funny names. The top is just the result of age. We have “Foo beer”. The bottom, IMO, is an unfortunate name for food: Yenching just doesn’t sound good.