American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide



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  Pages from Lizzie's Journal

February 15, 2002óinspired by Thoreau

Iíve come across a beautiful piece of land nestled below a railroad track. The land is mostly flat except for a gentle slope upwards toward the tracks. There are several large oak trees scattered across the property, and judging by their mammoth trunk size theyíve been here for hundreds of years. These trees are so tall and so full that in the summer filtered light casts faint shadows of a mist green hue over the landscape. Thunderous black birds inhabit the top floors of these oaks and commune in a loud screeching pitch that at times causes me to cover my ears.

Where the grass is damp from the early morning dew, I see prints of the deer that have come at night to feast on the fallen crab apples. Once, late at night I came upon a mother and two fawns.  I stood silently watching unnoticed until the whistle of the night train caught their ears and, looking up, they spied me. One look back over their shoulders and they flew into the woods near the open field. I saw them stop and turn to view me one more time before darting further into the woods.

Now the train is ambling by, and I can smell its exhaust floating through the air. My feet sense the vibration of the iron wheels rolling over the steel tracks. No one would ever believe the neon city is in full swing just one block away from where I am standing.

Above: Lizzie Lowe (photo by Linda Tate).


March 20, 2002

Itís the fourth day of our trip and very early in the morning. We are leaving Boston and I am amazed at the group of young people I am traveling with. I actually feel much safer about aging realizing this lovely new generation will truly care, with compassion, about what happens to me. I acknowledge them as we leave the city.

This is the time to say goodbye to some of my Transcendental friends. I canít explain it, but I have such a sense of their "aliveness" when visiting their gravesitesóa little paradoxical, do you think?


April 2, 2002

I realize home is not where I live. Love of family and friends helps determine what I call home. Itís about spirit. Itís about where my thoughts are.

Iíve lived in many places in many houses, but what I remember are feelings. Comfort as a child in a set routine so that I was never frightened of the unknown; the overwhelming joy and love for my children from the day they were born; and the anxiety for them in time of illness, disappointment, or sorrow. Itís as if I am the word HOME. It exists within me. I make a home wherever I can express and receive love.

My house is a comfort to meóa place filled with familiar things. It is only a place which houses me while I concentrate on the important things in lifeómy children, my grandchildren, my friends, school, a new Hospice patient. . . .

Home is nestled within.

  Lizzie Lowe is an RBA student at Shepherd College.

"American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide" was produced by students in ENGL 446, American Transcendentalism, and ENGL 447, American Literature and the Prominence of Place: A Travel Practicum. These courses were team-taught in the Department of English at Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by Dr. Patricia Dwyer and Dr. Linda Tate. For more information on the course and the web project, visit "About This Site." © 2003 Linda Tate.