Friday, November 09, 2007

On the Familiar and the Foreign

F W Boreham tells this story about the way that we so often have never awakened to the charms of the beauty spots around us yet we will travel long distances to see other attractions:

In the days of his youth James Russell Lowell spent one memorable summer vacation in the White Mountain district. One day, when enjoying a stroll through the Franconia Notch, he became absorbed in conversation with a man who was in charge of a sawmill. The man chatted on, feeding his mill with logs the while. Presently the poet asked his new acquaintance if he could direct him to a point from which he could obtain a good view of the ‘Old Man of the Mountain.’ ‘Dunno’ replied the man, ‘never seed it!’ Lowell immediately expressed his astonishment that any one living so near such a marvellous spectacle, which people came from long distances to see, should never have taken the pains to gaze upon it.

‘And how far have you come?’ asked the man. With evident pride the poet answered that he had come from Boston. ‘D'you tell?’ exclaimed the countryman. ‘I'd like to see Boston. Why, just to stand for once on Bunker Hill! You've been there often, likely?’ And James Russell Lowell confessed with shame and confusion of face that he never had!

F W Boreham 'Wedge Bay' The Golden Milestone (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 112-113.

More on this story and related stories on this theme can be found at this link:
The Official F W Boreham Blogsite

Image: Bunker Hill monument.