Mulch (noun, verb)- a material, such as as straw or bark, spread over the ground to reduce evaporation and control weeds

The sky seemed bluer this past week as a result of my tunnel vision subsiding after an actuarial exam. I was able to take a much-needed break from studying and go on a 5-hour stroll on Saturday. I planned to leisurely make my way to Sophia’s Greek Pantry in Belmont from East Cambridge.

I’ve long heard numerous people, Greeks included, rave about Sophia’s yogurt. Behind the counter Sophia Georgoulopoulos asked what I wanted, and I said half plain and half honey coconut. Sitting on a bench outside her shop, I tasted the thickest, creamiest, and tastiest yogurt I’ve ever had in my life. I can understand why so many of her enthusiasts claim that they no longer eat store-bought yogurt. Two surprising facts about Sophia’s yogurt: it’s non-fat, it’s made using milk from Vermont sheep and goats (not cows). What’s not surprising though are her 4.9- and 5-star ratings on Google and Yelp.

On my way back, I took Brattle Street towards Harvard Square. This street is lined with million-dollar mansions and historical sites. It is nicknamed “Tory Row” for being where many Loyalists resided at the time of the American Revolutionary War. During the war, several of these houses were confiscated by George Washington’s army. One of which located at 105 Brattle Street became Washington’s headquarters and his base of operations during the Siege of Boston (1775-1776), which was the opening phase of the Revolutionary War. After the war, other owners and residents inhibited the house. In 1843 it became the home of noted poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose family later donated the property to the National Park Service.

Also along Brattle Street were freshly-planted flowers and recently-applied mulches. The latter is usually a layer of organic matter used on bare soil to conserve moisture, fertilize the soil, reduce weed growth, and enhance visual appearance of the area (thus the different colors that mulch comes in). Mulch materials can be leaves, grass, wood or bark chips, compost, crushed stones, rubber, plastic..etc. I associate the earthy smell of wood chip mulch with the arrival of spring. However, I didn’t realize until some googling later that the smell turns foul quickly if mulch sours and creates toxic buildup. I guess I never noticed.

As I got closer to Harvard Sqaure, I saw two of my former students sitting on a tree and hanging out. It made me wonder how often they and their families spot me in public. I made stops at Peet’s coffee and Harvard Bookstore before heading home in a light drizzle with sunset behind my back.

Brown, black, and red mulch
Longfellow House in mid-Georgian architectural style
My former students hanging out on Brattle Street
Harvard Square

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