Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009 - Winthrop Square, Boston, Massachusetts

Life's twists and turns continue to thrust me down unexpected paths. I planned on today being a day at home, time to unwind from the recent Nantucket trip. A simple phone call changed all that, sending me into the city of Boston to find an historic building on the 5th floor of which would be two gentleman waiting to discuss a future project with me.

I emerged from South Station with Michelle and our friend Jamie, and we made our way into the city's heart. Michelle works near Faneuil Hall, not too far from where I had to be. This was one of my first true commuting experiences. I've always had jobs in places that allow me to oppose the flow of traffic; when most people head north and choke the main highways into Boston, I've wandered south along the back roads of the seacoast. It was nice to see how the other nine-tenths lived for once.

The streets around South Station get swarmed with pedestrians when the trains empty. It's amazing how akin the herd movement is to bird flocks or wildebeest migrations. Michelle related it to lemmings. Somewhere at the front of the pack someone makes a decision on street crossings. The rest follow. We joked that it's safer to stay in the middle of the group, and not get picked off the back. That's an old gene pool improvement trick of nature. The wolves always get the slowest, weakest deer. That way, those slow, weak genes are not passed on, strengthening the herd by subtraction.

Jamie bailed first, heading for her office. I said goodbye to Michelle as she headed for hers, and peeled off for my destination. I arrived to find one of the odd little urban sanctuaries Boston is famous for, a confluence of roads that forms a triangle, perfect for a pocket park. This one, at the meeting of Franklin and Otis, is known as Winthrop Square. The Winthrop part, well, that made sense. Governor John was one of the state's first. But what significance did the statue of Scottish poet Robby Burns have?

None, apparently. It was placed in the Fens, unveiled on New Year's Day, 1920 - significant, as Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne - by then-Governor Calvin Coolidge. It was moved here in 1975, with no real significance of place, as far as I know. But there he was, book in one hand, hat in the other, walking with his collie Luath. I suppose it's a destination for Scotsmen visiting the city. And it's not a bad walk at all.

Time: 40 minutes.

New species: None.

Stranger hellos: None.

The rest of today: rode the commuter rail; finished reading Inside Gitmo by Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu, posting a review of it on Amazon; picked up Michelle at the train station; dinner with Michelle's parents; had a meeting on a potential future book project; book, magazine and newspaper writing.

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