Monday, June 21, 2004

Schaumburg Uber Alles blog.

Climbing now to the solstice. What this country needs is a Midsummer’s holiday, like in the Scando-Nordic countries, who appreciate the virtues of really, really long summer days, to balance the deep long winter days, Arctic air, Bergman movies, etc. Of course, our winters aren’t quite as dark, but living on the wrong side of the Gulf Stream, I’d say they’re tougher.

But I suppose the Fourth of July will have to do. Still, you’d think we could have a string of holidays from Juneteenth to the Fourth.

It was still just ahead of twilight this evening when I went to take out the garbage for its weekly journey to a landfill. A trail of children followed me, abetted by their mother, who opened the door for the littlest one. This inspired an impromptu walk around the block, Lilly speeding ahead of me, Ann usually a little behind, to the park adjacent to Lilly’s elementary school. It had rained heavily earlier in the day, and the air smelled like wet grass and trees, and the way was marked by puddles. Ann had to investigate many of these. One larger one near the school, I thought, looked like the shape of the island of Hokkaido. Most of the clouds had gone by this time, but when we got to the park, it was wrapped in fog.

One other thing. I saw, on the way home from our walk this evening, a real harbinger of high summer: a firefly.

Yesterday we took a different sort of walk, under a partly cloudy day whose temps never got over 80 F. Around noon we went to the Spring Valley Nature Reserve, the jewel of the Schaumburg park system, as far as I’m concerned. I hadn’t been there since April, before everything greened up. In June, it’s really green, a stroll through acres of tall grass, wildflowers, birds and bugs on a single winding path that passes by small groves of trees and a lake. Nearby is a log cabin (dating from the 1920s, actually) and a farmhouse stocked with farm animals and interpretive volunteers. The structure dates from the 1840s, but has been restored to ca. 1880.

Schaumburg was a prosperous farm community in the late 19th century, nearly all first- or second-generation Germans. One of the ways in which the farmhouse restoration to 1880 reflected this demographic was in the choice of sheet music for the parlor’s piano (as I said, it was a prosperous place). There, open for visitors to see, the page of the songbook was turned to “Deutschland Uber Alles.” Such are the details that make a good museum.


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