Many of you know that I live just outside of Boston and I consider the city my home (and I really appreciate those of you who emailed me to make sure I was ok). I love this city, the architecture, the history, the vibe given off by the people. For me, downtown Boston isn’t an area to be avoided because of traffic, crime, or parking difficulties. It’s a place I frequent – with my family and friends, for work, or on my own. I have never worried about my safety.
I was on the marathon route yesterday with my kids, watching for our friends who were running the 26.2 miles. It was a gorgeous day for both runners and spectators, and we had so much fun cheering for the thousands of runners who passed us. Norah had free reign to yell as loud as she wanted, as long as she could, so it was a great day for her. We saw the beloved father and son team – Dick and Rick Hoyt, members of the military marching in full gear, teams raising money for charities, runners with guides to help because they were blind, cancer survivors, and so many other inspirational participants including a man sitting backward in his wheelchair, pushing himself with his feet for the entire marathon.
Some of my closest friends and their families were within a block of the explosions when they occurred. My friend finished the marathon just 10 minutes before, reaching his goal of running it in less than 4 hours as he raised money for Children’s Hospital. They were swept along by the running, screaming crowds, without knowing why. All but two from their group met at the predetermined meeting spot, an hour later they received news that the other two were safe. The city was in gridlock as they tried to drive the 20 miles home, with no cell service and little news. The horror of the situation became clear as we got the video, photos, and details (sometimes erroneous) from television and social media.
Thankfully, all of my friends and family are safe, but we mourn for those who were injured and who died, their families, and those of us who will think of this tragedy each time we see a runner, just as I think of 9/11 when I see that particular shade of cloudless blue sky.
Last fall I took the specwriter apprentices and other specwriters who were here for a workshop on a field trip to Boston, and we walked along the street where the explosions occurred. We visited the beautiful bronze doors at the Boston Public Library (just behind the viewing stands at the marathon finish line), and I planned to come back when the doors were all closed so I could take better photos. Instead, I will share these from the Boston Public Library’s collection. The doors were created by Daniel Chester French (completed in 1904), and each door weighs 1500 pounds. The allegorical figures, modeled in low relief, represent Music and Poetry (left), Knowledge and Wisdom (center), and Truth and Romance (right).
Photo: Boston Public Library