Monday, May 03, 2010

What We Have Or Don’t Have in Life

Some people are so happy living on Cape Cod that they never see any reason to leave. Indeed, I’m met folks who are proud of not having “crossed the bridge” in years. I'm not like that. In fact, I believe you see a place with different eyes once you have been away, especially in spring…

This weekend I journeyed up to Boston for Grub Street's Muse & the Marketplace. To reach the writers’ conference, in the Park Plaza, I took the T to Park Street, then proceeded across the Common and down through the Public Garden. I returned the same way in late afternoon. I was not alone, oh no. In my mind, the Public Garden transformed into an enormous Easter Bonnet, with pedestrians, like a swarm of bees, buzzing down the ribbons and around the brim, intent on sucking honey from every single flower. I stepped into the flow and felt overwhelmed by humanity streaming past. I saw

• A Frosty ice cream truck whose rear sported a larger-than-life drawing of the policeman in Make Way for Ducklings, beckoning to Mack, Quack, and their siblings,
• A Chinese family having a picnic on the lawn without a blanket,
• Three Spanish-speaking five-year-olds, saying “Cheese!” – or whatever one says in Spanish – in front of a tulip bed, while multiple mothers snapped photos,
• A disabled vet in a wheelchair, in need of monetary support,
• A twenty-something mime in a black corset, immobile on a box, right hand poised to receive change, left hand clutching a very broken black umbrella,
• A paraplegic whose crooked wheelchair blocked the way so people had to go around him (he held a raggedy kite and apparently is a regular, according to my daughter),
• A busker, whose preference went to Bob Seeger,
• A crowd of parents and kids in line for the next Swan Boat ride,
• A man intent on Ti Chi moves under a weeping beech tree,
• A voluptuous woman lying in front of another bed of tulips, posing for what I assumed was her husband, clicking away with digital camera
• Bare-chested teenagers on roller-blades despite the sign NO ROLLER-BLADES OR BIKES,
• German-speaking tourists examining a map

all in the space of less than five minutes.

At the Park Street station, I shared a bench with three Hispanic youths, while waiting for the T. One boy asked another, “Why is this train taking so long? Is it coming from Heaven?”

On Sunday morning, thousands of Bostonians took part in Project Bread’s March for Hunger, and I was right there with them, striding down Beacon Street, past the television cameras and policemen. There were people of all shapes and sizes, all colors and ethnicities.

These types of experiences do not happen on Cape Cod. Not in Wellfleet, anyway.

I enjoyed the conference and made a new friend over lunch. We were finishing up the salad when she asked where I came from.

“Cape Cod,” I replied.



“Ah! The beautiful part!”

"The beautiful part" I thought once home yesterday afternoon. Sven was so happy to see me. He lay in the hammock, gazing up at the tiny green leaves on the maple, practically unfurling before our very eyes. He had cut the grass and that wonderful cut-grass smell lingered in the air. The lilac was about to bloom. The poppies were tight balls of green that would burst into splotches of red any day now. How fortunate we are to have this private garden …

Being away for a weekend certainly makes one appreciate what one has in life, doesn't it? Have you ever had any such moments, where a weekend away made you realize all over again how much you love the place you live?