'Before the merciless grid'


"Predating the merciless grid that seized Manhattan and possessed the vast Midwest, New England towns have at their center an irregular heart of open grass, vestige of the Puritan common, holding, perhaps, a village pump, a weathered monument, a surviving elm. In Rowley {Mass.}, a vacant triangle beside Route 1A that a December narrows becomes suddenly alive with whirling dervishes of Christmas lights….''

By the late John Updike from his essay "Common Land,'' in Arthur Griffin's New England: The Four Seasons