Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Around the Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Spring in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston is quite spectacular. Here a couple strolls down Marlborough Street.  Marlborough Street is quieter and/or more residential than the parallel Commonwealth Avenue, Boylston Street, or Newbury Street.

Along Commonwealth Avenue.

Along Marlborough Street.

Trinity Church, founded in 1733, and the Hancock Towr, built in 1976, are at Copley Plaza along Boylston Street. I've taken at least a hundred photos of this view over the years and none of them comes close to capturing the feel and the light.  Oh well, I'll keep trying.

The Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street.

Hanging out near the Trinity Church.  I love to photograph the glow in back-lighted scenes - too bad the result is not as good as the event.

The new crews are still broadcasting live from the Copley Plaza memorial to the Marathon victims.

This young boy, perhaps 60 pounds, gets to meet this 150 pound therapy dog at the site of one of the Marathon bombings. The boy seemed a little tentative.  The breed is a Leonberger and it is BIG - a gentle giant.

A sidewalk painter on Boylston Street is re-creating the bombing scene.

And everywhere the flowers are blooming......

It is a great time to wander in the Back Bay area of Boston.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Public Garden and Common, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Designated in 1837, the Boston Public Garden is home to thousands of blooming tulips this time of year.

A painter works in the early morning light before the swan boats have left their docks.  Note the small painting on the ground is of the Boston Marathon finish line.

On the Boston Common, the grass is greening, the leaves are unfolding, and folks are out walking and enjoying the warming weather.  It is the oldest city park in the United States.  Founded in 1634, its 50 acres have seen, among other purposes, use as a cow pasture and a campground for British soldiers.

It may be chilly but sitting in the bright warm sunshine on a bench at Boston Common is hard to beat. The golden dome of the Massachusetts State House is visible through the trees at left.  It was built in 1798 with a wooden dome but because it leaked, Paul Revere's company covered it in copper in 1802.  In 1874 it was first gilded in gold leaf.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Spring is vibrant in Boston's Public Garden.  The temperatures are creeping up, the buds are popping, the sun is shining, and life is good.

Hanging out in the Public Garden.

The famous pedal-powered swan boats are plying the waters of the pond in the Public Garden.

Not to bring up that recently forgotten subject but, this cherry tree looks more like it's covered from a really full and deep snowstorm - only it's not cold outside!

Elsewhere nearby, the Church of the Covenant peeks out from behind this bush along Berkeley Street looking north toward Newbury Street. 

Magnolia blossoms frame this flag on Commonwealth Avenue, still flying at half-mast after the Marathon bombings.

It's mostly too early for the bulk of the tourists.  Area residents are out and about enjoying the beauty of Boston's public spaces - pretty much the communal "backyard."  The Public Garden is adjacent to the Boston Common.  The Garden was founded in 1837 as the first botanical garden in the United States.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Boston Marathon - Part 3 of 3, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Four large poster boards and many Sharpies were arranged at the impromptu memorial site for visitors to leave comments. 

There were three quotes pre-printed on the posters: one each by President Obama, Governor Patrick, and Mayor Menino.  Otherwise the public was free to leave their comments.

And many people did leave a comment.

All the years I've looked at maps of Massachusetts but I never thought of this - very clever - it brought a smile to my face.

And at Marathon time, we are the world's home.

In the week since the bombings, other tragedies have occurred around the world with  many fatalities.  It is a sober reminder to enjoy the voyage of life - it can end abruptly and unexpectedly at any time or, events can render one maimed for whatever remains of one's life. 

What does all this mean?  That on the timeline of the world another tragic act of humanity's worst behavior is writ large and irrevocable.

Instead of all gathering to joyously celebrate some remarkable accomplishment that enriches the world, we gather here to again bow our heads sadly at another unspeakable act of violence and madness.  Can humanity do no better than this?

But it is spring in Boston.  And as always, the runners will run. The sun has come out and replaced the explosions of evil with nature's explosion of growth, and renewal, and achingly beautiful sights in our natural world.  And with each passing day these events will fade from the top of minds but always, in an instant, recallable as sad and sick markers in what is otherwise an extraordinary journey through our time on this planet. 

And next year, from all over the world, runners will be again drawn to Boston, Massachusetts, on Patriot's Day to participate in the 114th Boston Marathon - to again take part in a special race as the crowds gather along the 26.2 mile route and cheer them on.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Boston Marathon - Part 2 of 3, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Barely a week ago, I stood on Boylston Street at the Marathon finish line and watched the wheelchair competitors, the women's elite runners, and the men's elite runners cross the finish line.  I watched and felt their thrill of victory, their pride at accomplishing a dream, overcoming a difficult challenge.  Then I left and wandered around other parts of the Marathon and downtown areas.  I didn't know that in just over two hours, the first bomb would explode right where I had been standing.

A week later, the sidewalk site of the first bomb blast near the finish line has been reopened to foot traffic.

The concrete repairs are still drying as pedestrians walk quietly by the site where the first bomb exploded.

A hard-won medal from a Marathon runner has been left here as a tribute to the memory of the dead and injured.

Windows still need to be replaced following the blasts.

And we look on contemplating the incomprehensible violence.

But there runs deeply through everyone here, "Boston Strong," a hope for a better day, a better time perhaps, when we no longer feel the need to kill or main each other.  As 8-year old victim Martin Richard wrote a year ago, "No more hurting people. Peace."

How does a human being commit such a heinous and unbelievable act - to construct and then leave a bomb within a crowd, a bomb solely designed to kill and maim innocent people.  Someone who commits this act simply is not human by my understanding of what humanity is and is not.  Such evil defies comprehension much less understanding.

How does one cross that line into madness that makes committing such an act okay in his mind - to justify some extraordinarily sick belief that murder and mayhem are worthy acts within his perverted belief system.

How do they do what they do in the name of a God?  For that matter, how has humanity done much of what it's done in the name of a God for thousands of years? So many of these acts are an affront to the meaning of Godliness. 

The concrete is still drying after workers replace the sidewalk areas damaged by the bomb blast. The stain of blood and other signs of carnage are gone.  But we will never forget.  The concrete hardens as does our resolve to never give in to terror - "We are Boston Strong" - and we will be back next year for the Boston Marathon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boston Marathon - Part 1 of 3, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

This sentiment is visible everywhere in town now.......

and yesterday the people came by the thousands to the Boston Marathon finish line.

The authorities in Boston had just reopened Boylston Street. I too, felt compelled to visit the impromptu shrine at Copley Plaza.  I wanted to pay my respects and honor the memories of the three people who died and the scores of people maimed and injured at the finish line on Marathon Monday. I had stood there, too, on that day, only a few hours before the blasts.

We came alone, or in pairs, or as families, or as co-workers on a break, some walking, some on crutches, some in wheelchairs - we were young or old, black or white, domestic or foreign, and everything in between - our emotions were palpable - sadness, loss, anger, confusion, love, redemption, forgiveness.  A steady stream of people had come - some had journeyed specifically for this, some happened by on chance, some lingered, some passed through quickly. But a solemnity overspread all.

This is the shrine to the three killed at the finish line - Krystle, Lingzi, and Martin.

Many sports team hats were left in tribute with the "Boston Strong" message......

And hundreds of stuffed toy animals....

And flowers, and wreaths, and bouquets.....

And always reinforcing the message ....."Boston Strong."

Running shoes by the hundreds.......

And American flags too numerous to count .........

Amid the sadness -  the defiant and resilient message prevailed - "Boston Strong."

Even the news teams were quiet, respectful, and subdued, shown here interviewing a marathoner who came to pay her respects.

It was a gathering of sadness made bearable by the outpouring and sharing of love and caring by strangers. It was made bearable by the warm spring sunshine that helps remind us that amid the sadness, renewal and rebirth has arrived as Boston marks another glorious spring.  We are "Boston Strong." 

I'm glad I went.