Every couple months, I take a walk in Boston for the day. Sometimes alone, and sometimes in company. I do what everyone else does: there's a reason we're all drawn to the same frequent places, the landmarks and the memorials. I don't mind so much being unoriginal in this regard. Nostalgia foments comfort.
Like so many eager young adults, I followed my gut to this city in my early twenties. It was about a boy, swimming over my head with the executive giants of industry, and working more hours to be paid more, only just to eek by.
I worked at a dinky little newspaper, where I was the minority: an uncompromising white female. When it boiled down to it, I didn't want to write that bad. Though, it was my first exposure to publishing, to the deadlines and bylines, and learning where bias and partisanship truly existed. It broke my heart, and chose the direction of graduate school instead.
What is nice about these walks now that I'm from Away, is that I can really appreciate Boston as an outsider looking in, rather than being immersed in the grind, or so plugged in to the point where one can't detach. I can enjoy the city in ways that I couldn't when I actually lived there, and can so readily see how I fell in love with such a place, as a kid on those daytrips with my mother to the MFA. It's like looking at Monet's lilies from the other side of the room, versus being up close and personal, where everything looks chaotic and splattered carelessly about.
I hadn't been back since the day after the Marathon, when I drove through the empty solemn city and felt how cold it could be with the glass and steel buildings pushing up to the grey-green sky like one grand mausoleum in my rear view.
This time was different. The air was warm, with a breeze that tunneled through the streets from the Bay, pushing up skirts and throwing ties over shoulders. Families were at their leisure. A couple discussing wedding plans on the steps of a church, as she let her feet rest and he held her hand. The little old man in evening slippers swearing under his breath in Italian, as he straightened his tomato plants against the high noon sun. And the stripped down children splashing around in the fountains and frog pond, because they can.
I could go on, because the day was so eerily perfect. And I even caught myself saying, Yeah, I could easily come back. But I know I won't, at least not to stay. But maybe that was always what it was in the first place: the romance of it all.
So, here are a couple of my favorite captured images instead: