So through the night rode Paul Revere; And so through the night went his cry of alarm To every Middlesex village and farm, A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo for evermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear, The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1860
Should that imagined day arrive that I settle on the farm I'll unpack my bags and gaze across the land, looking over the years I've waited, looking at the stones I'll hold in my hand, little colored pebbles from the River Mystic beside which rode Paul Revere in the night. Home, home at last to live out the days in the shade and the warm, the soft breeze and the sway of the crop. Far, far, far from the Mystic, settled on the ground, home, living alone in the hills far away. The waters that flowed over the stones far away and long gone. Should that imaginary day arise.
The farm, the garden, the forest, the lake nearby, should the day come bright, then we'll see the smoke blowing away and the light appearing strong and the clear sky blue. The glint of dawn on the leaded panes, the veranda wrapped around, the rocker still, the glasses resting under cloth for the evening's chat to come, lemons chilled in the cellar, wood-tinged water laying calm in the cistern.
This portentous dusk deceives me. Phantom figures glide in the gloom and make subtle whispering hisses, hushed accusations; and those around look on in placid bemusement at my alarm. What's this sack of stones, this tiny pile of pebbles? These little river-rubbed rocks are for a fish tank lit by the glow of the stove; there they are in hand as if Mystic memories mean. Paul Revere rode in the night along the Mystic River to warn his fellows, and here I sit awaiting the call. I peer into darkness, strain my ears for the warning, weighing the stones from the Mystic and that far away day, as far away as the farm.