Sadness and serendiptity – Part 3

by Steve Brock on October 26, 2011

Three stories of books surround a middle stack at the Millicent Library in Fairhaven, MA

On the trip to my nephew’s funeral, I noted the serendipity of rediscovering the joy of spending time with just my parents and my brother in Rhode Island and Massachusetts the day before the funeral.

That was an unexpected benefit, but there were other, smaller ones along the way that I’d like to share with you. By themselves, these probably fall into the “so what?” category. But they illustrate an important aspect of meaningful travel: when we pay attention to the details and small moments on a trip, we uncover insights and connections that we associate with that trip and everything else that is occurring at the time.

Thus, on their own, these may seem insignificant yet they form a pattern of discovery and meaning – even if that meaning is personal and may not fully translate to others. Still, from the following images, I hope you get some sense of why this was both an interesting journey and a meaningful one.

Since we had not planned on doing any sightseeing, our entire source of information was the travel magazine left in our hotel rooms. After glancing through various options within a 45 minute drive, we decided to head out from our hotel in Providence, RI and go to Falls River, New Bedford and Fairhaven, MA. Why? The pictures in the magazine looked nice.

Sometimes that’s reason enough.

My own snapshots below show some of what we encountered, but let me comment on one place in particular, the Fairhaven Public Library.

We had no idea where to go in Fairhaven when we arrived, so we skirted the harbor to the old downtown area where we saw several old churches and other buildings.

The most intriguing turned out to be the public library. Though small, it is probably the most beautiful, functioning public library I’ve seen in this country. What made it even more interesting – even serendipitous if you will – is that while perusing the book shelves, we “just happened” upon a book cart that had two books on the old buildings of Fairhaven. Thus, we not only discovered the library, but within the library we found books detailing its own history and that of nearby buildings.

Again, that may not seem like a big deal, but it was borderline “woo woo” to us in terms of how it all came together this day.

The rest of the sights were more mundane but still interesting. It added up to a surprisingly intriguing day that now is part of our family; an unplanned experience that is, in ways we can’t fully explain, somehow essential to what that entire trip means to us.

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If you missed the first parts of this series, you can read them here: Ugly Beautiful, Sadness and Serendipity - Part 1, Sadness and Serendipity - Part 2

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