Posts Tagged ‘Boston Common’

I’ve had a hard time transitioning back into normal life after Bethany’s beautiful wedding. For one thing, arriving home on Sunday, tired and mussed with a suitcase full of dirty laundry, and then having to go to work on Monday feels like a cruel joke. For another, we had yet more chilly rainy days last week (I am so over the chilly rain). And finally, we had to say good-bye to a couple of friends this weekend – Scott and Beth, some of our best Boston pals, are moving soon. To Montana. Which is just ridiculously far away.

But, as she often does, Sarah came to the rescue yesterday, with a lovely post on the little lifesavers – the things that just make you feel good, that allow you to stop and breathe in and enjoy, and forget for a moment about the to-do list and those piles of clutter that never seem to go away and that stubborn sink that just stays full of dishes. She listed her little lifesavers, which (of course) inspired me to list mine. So here they are:

1. Splurging on brand-new, delicious hardcover books. I don’t do this often, but it’s always satisfying.
2. Children’s lit. This week it’s the books about the Moffats. So fun.
3. Sitting on our wee balcony, with my journal and the flourishing patio garden.
4. Trying a new recipe (last night: oil and garlic pasta sauce from Cooking with My Sisters. YUM).
5. Fresh nectarines.
6. Fruity summer candles.
7. Good pens.
8. Phoning a friend.
9. Tea at my desk.
10. Taking the long way to work across the Common, and breathing in the fresh green smells.
11. My Norah Jones Pandora radio station.
12. Shopping my closet for new outfits. (Amazingly satisfying when I pull it off.)
13. A new shawl pattern for some delicious yarn.
14. Looking forward to a Cape Cod getaway.

What are your little lifesavers – this week, or all the time?

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(On the Common, early May 2011)

(On the Common, April 2011)

(On the Common, Nov. 2010)

(On the Common, Oct. 2010)

(On the Freedom Trail, Sept. 2010)

(In the Public Garden, last week)

I’m not sure what this says about me, except that I like documenting the places I’ve walked – and I apparently have a deep affection for my main mode of transportation these days.

What odd/quirky things do you find yourself photographing?

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1. Watching the light on the sliver of Boston Common visible from our conference-room window.
2. Strolling (or hustling) down the east side of the Common, on my way to and from work each day.
3. Nichole’s Paris calendar and red photo set, hanging on the wall.
4. Brewing my favorite teas in a potbellied electric kettle, and drinking them out of a favorite mug.
5. Music to write by – Nickel Creek, HEM, the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack, Dave Madden, Grace Pettis.
6. Lunchtime strolls on the Common and in the Public Garden.
7. After-work or lunchtime stops into the Brattle, Second Time Around, Paper Source and other fun places.
8. Knowing where my next paycheck is coming from.
9. People-watching – on the T, in the food court downstairs, on the streets.
10. Leftovers for lunch, with a good book.

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1. If the train has already pulled in as I reach the bus-stop sidewalk (from which you can see the platform), I’m probably not going to catch it – even if I run.
2. It’s nearly impossible to juggle a travel mug and a book, and find a way to hold on. (Solution: trying to get up early enough to finish my tea at home.)
3. No matter how chilly it is, I’ll probably have to take off my hat after a few minutes of being crammed into a car with dozens of other people.
4. My mom (whose main quibble with Europe was its crowded public transport systems) would hate this commute.
5. Fingerless gloves make it easier to turn pages on the train, but then my fingers get cold walking to the station.
6. Even if I’m running late, it’s better to get off at Park Street and walk down the Common than to crowd onto a Green Line train to Boylston. For one thing, they’re often delayed; for another, sometimes I can’t squeeze through the crowd to get off.
7. The smells of the food court downstairs from my office are quite tempting, even if I’ve already had breakfast.
8. As long as it’s chilly enough to require a hat in the mornings, I will never arrive at work with perfect hair. (I probably never will anyway.)
9. I still can’t believe I get to stroll down Boston Common on my way to and from work every single day.
10. I have a much shorter commute than many of my co-workers, and I do not have to deal with parking meters or garages; for all of this, I am grateful.

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We’re preparing for our first Boston winter, which by definition will be longer and harder than anything I’ve faced in Texas, and contain more snow than my two winters in Oxford (which were cold and wet, but it rarely snows there). I’m pulling out my soup recipes, making lots of hot drinks, keeping an eye on our heating-oil tank and buying a few extra warm garments. And I’m doing another thing: following Ma Ingalls’ advice in The Long Winter, right before the blizzards set in:

It was beautiful Indian summer. Frosts came every night and sometimes a light freeze, but all the days were sunny. Every afternoon Laura and Mary took long walks in the warm sunshine, while Carrie played with Grace near the house.

“Get yourselves full of sunshine while you can,” Ma said. “It will soon be winter and you’ll have to stay indoors.”

Out in the bright soft weather they were storing up sunshine and fresh air, in themselves, for the winter when they would not have any.

That last line has echoed in my head on every sunny or even semi-sunny day, as I slip on a jacket and head out to run errands or wander around the city or sit on Boston Common with a cup of tea. I’m soaking up the golden leaves, the play of light on the grass and sidewalks, the last soft breezes before winter bears down. I’m storing up this sunshine and warmth and fresh air, for the dreary winter days when I’ll hole up indoors, drinking tea and piling on layers and wishing and hoping for spring.

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1. any number of Frisbee games
2. a woman in a sun hat, a long skirt and sneakers
3. a schnauzer in a little pink-flowered coat
4. a man walking his dog while reading on his e-reader
5. lots of dogs and their people, many of whom sort of resemble each other (remember the opening scene of 101 Dalmatians? [About 5 minutes into this video.])
6. children toddling around, sometimes after dogs or squirrels
7. squirrels that come right up to you
8. people sprawled out on the grass, napping
9. couples canoodling
10. a bagpiper playing
11. fraternity boys chanting as they run
12. a musical carousel
13. Boston terriers (how appropriate)
14. The Boston Pops, playing a free 125th anniversary concert
15. art students carrying huge, unwieldy portfolios
16. lots and lots of iPods
17. a little girl with cornrows, and her daddy, with dreads
18. businesspeople heading home from work
19. soccer games galore
20. two girls in short shorts, carrying beach towels
21. a man carrying an orange portable stereo
22. two businessmen, dressed alike, walking perfectly in step, arms swinging in rhythm (perhaps they were father and son?)
23. forests of Starbucks cups
24. tourists with huge cameras and fanny packs, walking hand in hand
25. a festival pushing for the legalization of marijuana
26. people staring at maps and guidebooks
27. frog statues guarding the Frog Pond
28. the season’s first red leaves

(See my Boston Common post for more photos!)

I’m sure there will be more to come…

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The first time I came to Boston, it was March, and snowy, and FREEZING. So on our one day in central Boston, our group didn’t visit Boston Common. So I had no idea how wonderful it was until a few weeks ago. (Bethany had told me it was lovely – she described sitting on it in the May sunshine, eating a bag of fresh cherries – but I had yet to see it for myself.)

And, well, now I love it. It’s simply beautiful, a big park of trees and grass and a baseball diamond and a playground and a couple of fountains in the middle of Boston. There are great stretches where dogs can run, or people can play Frisbee, or you can sprawl out and do nothing at all. It’s right in the middle of everything, close to my beloved Brattle Book Shop and the Downtown Crossing shopping area, and right next to Charles Street, which offers shopping and food, and of course it’s cheek by jowl with the lovely (slightly more formal) Boston Public Garden. And late summer/early fall is the perfect time to enjoy it.

Pretty much every time I’m in the city, I end up on the Common, sometimes with a book, sometimes with a chai or cup of tea in hand, nearly always with my camera. And I sit and people-watch and laugh at the dogs and squirrels, and snap a few photos and feel the wind on my face and the sun on my shoulders. It reminds me of my beloved South Park in Oxford. And since it belongs to the people of Boston, it also belongs to me.

(The squirrels are not shy, the frogs who guard Frog Pond are charming, and the light is lovely.)

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