Formerly known as "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Powder House, Somerville

I've seen this old mill for many times, but something is different today, I thought. The American flag on the top of the tower was at half mast. It usually takes seconds to pick up the reason. This time it was sadly obvious why. Looking at the flag, I was worrying about my Japanese friend and her kids in Arizona.

Powder House is the quintessential Somerville; look at the seal of the city. The structure was originally built as a windmill in 1703-4. What would it look like with the windmill sails? I always thought it is called "Powder" House because it used to be a flour mill. But it seems to to be a different kind of powder. The mill was sold to the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1747 and used as the gunpowder magazine. General Gage seized the mill in 1774, leading to the Battle of Lexington and Concord a year after. Now the inside of the magazine is empty, functioning as the symbol of Somerville and the early history of the United States.

A heavy snowfall hit the area few days ago. Tree branches couldn't hold the amount of the snow accumulated, and finally snapped out. I've seen something like this after a tornado storm in the Midwest.

Looking at the closed gate

The American flag at half mast on the gunpowder magazine surrounded by violently snapped tree branches... While taking pictures, I couldn't help being puzzled by the strange layers of symbols. My mind began to spin: the flag is at half mast because the gun shots in Tuscon brought the death of six people. From Japanese eyes, a gun -- the tool cannot function without what used to be stored inside -- was the object that brought the violence. But some folks argue that more guns would have prevented the tragedy.

I thought what I saw in the snowfield somewhat represented how the guns have been playing the mythic role in this country, weighting on its masculine strength as the tool for the pursuit of freedom. But how can we solve the initial lack of medical support to the assailant, questions regarding freedom of speech, etc.?

The sun was already setting. It was bitterly cold and windy, and a young hawk was staggering in the sky. My mind was swirling like the winged fellow. Ok, I think too much, again. I should go home soon, it's too cold.

Locate Powder House @ Google Map

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