William Carlos Williams used to visit friends near Rochester, New York during the summer, maybe just to get out of New Jersey for awhile. He left behind some poetry written under the inspiration of the yellow peonies there and the general mystery of the place.
It was romanticism of a wild type, bareback riding in fields, occasionally without the benefit of clothing, mingling with artists and poets in a beautiful natural setting. Even today artists gather there to paint distant scenery. The ghosts of departed poets linger in the labyrinth.
My sister brought me there one summer after her surgery. We walked the labyrinth, sat in the tiny “chapel”, wandered about in the empty house and flower gardens, feeling the presence of all the mystics who had spent time there. It wouldn’t be difficult to be a neighbor there. Frances brings them little gifts, usually electronic gadgets. Not the sort of thing they would go outside to buy themselves. Gadgets seem out of place in Paradise.
As you move closer in to the city itself, Rochester reminds you of past glories. The Eastman House, the homes built by master architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, furniture makers of great fame, the headquarters of now-beleaguered Kodak all reach out to greet you. Real Estate is cheap there. All the beautiful people have departed.
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