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Sunday, April 21, 2013


Oh, Boston, my Boston.

What can one really say about all of this?

I live north of Boston, and we were fortunate to feel pretty safe on our suburban cul-de-sac.  I wish I could say the same for my friends who were in lockdown, not very far away at all, who had helicopters hovering over their houses, SWAT teams and police everywhere, controlled detonations on their streets.

The marathon bombing happened just a few blocks from the school where I did my master's degree.  I know those streets, those shops.  I know Boston and I know her people.  And while I wasn't born in Massachusetts, I've grown to love this place and her people.  Newbury Street, Boylston Street, Mass Ave.  The Boston Symphony concerts, the Public Garden with the duck statues, the runners along Storrow Drive.  Watching the people ice skate on Frog Pond in the winter.  The undying love Bostonians have for their sports teams.  Even the accents, the use of the word "wicked," the magnificently complicated one-way streets.  Okay, maybe not the driving.  And maybe not traffic on the Leverett Connector.  But still.  I love Boston.

How can one not be moved by the stories of the first responders, of the everyday people and law enforcement and medical workers alike springing into action to help the wounded?  The runners who finished a marathon and then kept running to donate blood?  The way the Yankees played Sweet Caroline and declared, "We stand united with Boston," all rivalry set aside as baseball fans all over the country cheered for our team alongside their own teams?  


I keep thinking of the mothers of the three victims killed in the bombing.  One was a child, yes, but they were all someone's children.  I know they will forever ask themselves if they could have done something differently that day.  Stayed home, or stood somewhere different, or left a bit sooner.  It could have turned out differently.  Of course those are pointless things to think about, but I know they can't help but think about them, anyway.

I think of the mother of those boys, one now dead, one captured an lying in a hospital bed. Did she see this coming?  Did she know their lives had taken this turn?  When they were young, did they see enough beautiful art, hear enough good music, feel enough hugs?  Does she feel somehow responsible for what her sons have caused?


Over the past few days, it felt a little surreal to see friends' facebook updates about regular life - the weather, or what they ate for breakfast.  Life in the greater Boston area had ground to a halt, but elsewhere, life went on as usual.  I wonder if that's how my day today seems to someone in Texas, though, or even more, to someone in Syria or Iran.

On Friday morning, I read some of the news updates, and then I carried my baby outside and set her on
a blanket to play in the sun while I worked in my front garden bed.

Maybe that seems trite, to go dig in the ground and laugh with my baby on a blanket on the grass while not far away, people are awakening to a new life without limbs.  Without daughters.  Without sons and brothers.

But around the world, tragic things are happening every day, and yet we go on living, don't we?  We go on hugging our babies and baking bread and working in the garden.  We do it because, in spite of the sadness and suffering, there's joy too, and there's hope.

One doesn't put brown bulbs and tiny seeds into the ground without hope for tomorrow.

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