the Concord Magazine November/December 2001
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Letters to the Editor
Highlights from our virtual mailbag. Please email your letters to us, making them as short as possible. We reserve the right to edit them for length and clarity. For safety's sake, they may be published anonymously, but you must send us your name in your email. We're sorry, but we cannot answer all questions we receive.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart...
Dear Publisher, extraordinaire:
harvest time in new englandAfter an extremely grim and shocking week following the September 11th terrorist attacks, last night, I received an E-mail from my husband in his office 3 floors below.

He thought I might enjoy the Orchard House article in the Concord Magazine. I volunteer there and 55 year ago had my 8th birthday party on the lawn of the Alcott's home. Not knowing who or what you were, I entered your lovely healing world. I had received news that a young man that I knew had been on Flight 11, and I needed to bathe in the leaves, trees, bogs and rivers to wash off the sadness that had set my heat aching.

Tonight, I will E-Mail [Executive Director of Orchard House] Jan Turnquist to go there so that she too will be refereshed in addition to seeing the article. Please add me to your subscription list.

Thank you for helping me to remember to go outside and clear the burning images.
Jill Henderson

Editor's Note: You can subscribe to the Concord Magazine by sending email to Subscriptions are free; we will notify you via email each time a new issue is published. And there is NO paper version of this publication -- it's available only on the Web.

spent cornfieldPerspective on Terrorist Attacks
As one looks back over the events of the last eleven years, one wonders if perhaps the "sins" of the father have been visited upon the child, not the sins of all the rest of us, as some clergy want us to believe. And for those who do not think this is War ---

In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. In response to a call from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (and to save Mideast oil), George the First, with the consent of Congress, took America and its coalition of allies into the Persian Gulf War. This war pitted Islamic nations against each other, and since it resulted in a cease fire in February 1991, there has been a continued American presence in Saudi Arabia. This did not set well with Osama Bin Laden and other Islamic terrorist groups.

In February 1993, the truck bomb attack on the World Trade Center, resulted in 6 American dead and over 1100 wounded. In June 1996, a truck bomb attack in Saudi Arabia resulted in 500 dead including 19 American servicemen. In August 1998, car bombs exploded at U.S.Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killing 224 including 12 Americans. Two weeks later, the United States bombed targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan. In October 2000, suicide bombers attacked the U.S.S.Cole in Yemen leaving 17 American sailors dead and 38 wounded. On September 11, 2001, in the reign of George the Second, suicide bombings carried out using four hijacked American commercial airliners resulted in the complete destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a section of the Pentagon. Casualties are estimated at over 2000 injured and over 5000 American dead, plus 19 Islamic terrorists.

If this isn't War, then what the hell is it?
Fred Langevin, Jr. - Concord, NH

Knowing Beans
more harvest blessingsCould you tell me what Thoreau's Bean Field looks like now? Is there any open field left at all? I visited Walden Pond this June, but didn't have enough time to see the bean field (I saw the sign pointing to the direction). I want to know this because I started to read Walden for another time. Thank you for your time. By the way, my trip to Concord was really nice.
Xiangui Su, China

It is well drained and sunny, but it is not a good field for growing. Walden Woods is a glacial sandpile lacking in all essential nutrients, and this was in an era prior to commercial or manufactured fertilizers. This area behind the town poorfarm had been farmed some seventeen years earlier, and despite that passage of fallow years, the soil had not even begun to recover.

Although Thoreau was able to get something of a crop the first year, by virtue of the wood and weeds he plowed back into the soil and by virtue of the self-manuring that he was able to provide, due to lack of the sort of intensive manuring that would have been required, and due in addition to a late frost, his second year's crop would be an utter failure.
Austin Meredith, "Stack of the Artist of Kouroo" Project, Brown University

bull rushes in late autumnA Loss to Concord
Just a note of sadness. Another piece of old Concord and of Thoreau country is being torn down -- the 1724-1740 Bensen-Tarbell-Ball house and barn. Henry Thoreau wrote of it fondly: "Tarbell's hip-roofed house looked the picture of retirement--of cottage size under its noble elm with its heap of apples before the door and the wood coming up within a few rods--it being far off the road. The smoke from his chimney so white and vaporlike, like a winter scene." To be replaced by a modern large house and a driveway to other possible riverfront lots.

And it is happening on our watch. People worked hard to develop some well sites on the land, and save some of the parcel for conservation, and to save the town money, but on-site preservation of these historic structures drew the short straw, I'm afraid, when the land was sold by the town. Unfortunately, no more of them are being made.

To read about why this happened and whether we can still help, I've posted a web page here.
Steve Ells

Photos: Courtesy of ArtToday.

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