Essays On Puritans

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In New England we have mudrooms because nature provides us with an entire season dedicated to mud.

The weeks between the last real snow and the first 50-degree days are interminable.

I don’t think the first European settlers were terribly concerned with mud.

I spent a lot of time peeking into their houses like a creepy, time-traveling voyeur. I wasn’t that good at standing in front of a classroom of students whose interest level could be rated as mild, but my research provided me with an excuse to while away a winter’s day studying 18th-century probate records.

Now all of the household items that weren’t worthy of deep storage in a barn or shed could be piled up, in a manner that was accessible, yet out of the public view.

Although this arrangement continued for centuries, the term “mudroom” is a late entry into architecture-speak.

That’s mud time, our fifth season, which is just coming to its end.

The lingering odor of poisoned rodents decaying under the mudroom, their open-air graves marked by middens of broken medicine bottles, pottery shards, and withered corncobs accumulated over the last century.

The second, larger Puritan colony of Massachusetts Bay was conceived as a "city upon a hill." But it also struggled with internal turmoil—like the Salem Witch Trials—and external conflict, like King Philip's (Metacom's) War.

It’s late at night, and I’m staring at seed catalogues while the scripted tones of a reality real estate show—my favorite soporific—drone on in the background.


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