He was more patient than I had any right to expect, not raising a bit of complaint as some new sight or another would catch my eye, and I'd scamper off to go get a closer look. Then I caught sight of this scene, and it was irresistible.
This was it. This, here.
It doesn't look like much, does it? I was reminded of nothing so much as a Robert Frost poem, the low line of rock receding into the distance. I hunkered down close, smelling the cool stone and peered over the edge.
I sense movement to the side, and look up to see my guide smiling at me from across the brush I'd hopped over. I grin back - and raise my arms to mimic the weight of a musket at my shoulder. Sighting down that imaginary barrel, I imagine dirt where now is asphalt. Scarlet wool and buff leather and sulpher-tinged air instead of the crisp air and passing cars.
.. for that's where we were.
Battle Road, they call it.
Two hundred thirty six years ago, that last bridge had been crossed. We had raised our hand against our Sovereign. That final irrevocable step was taken.
This was no mob in the streets, some civil offense for a courthouse trial. No few criminals for the gibbet. This was a road filling up with armed men, firing as a body on the uniform that scarcely a generation ago had meant safety, and honour, and the defense of our British liberties.
For a bit of perspective.... there is now less time separating us from 9/11, than there was between the end of that last great war with France in 1763, and 1770 - when the hated lobsterbacks opened fire in Boston.
Things had deteriorated that quickly, and that completely.
Now, in 1775, that "Clash of Resounding Arms" that Patrick Henry had recently only prophesied would indeed soon by carried on the winds south to Virginia.
But for now, this was a Yankee fight.
On the drive home, my host repeated a story he had heard growing up, wherin a southern planter had met a Yankee farmer. This is butchered I'm sure, but I recall the gist of it.
"This soil, it's so thin, and the weather so chill - surely you can't manage a large plantation here."
"And these stones you're constantly pulling from the earth just to plow - you must be spend half your time carting rock."
"And your season must be so short. Tell me - what is it exactly that you grow here in these fields?"
Y'all are an interesting bunch up yonder.
(Well, down yonder now I guess. :p )