Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009 - Watson Park, Braintree, Massachusetts

It wasn't raining too hard when I started walking this morning. Note the phrase "when I started."

I knew it had to be a quick one today, as deadlines were looming and Michelle and I had plans for lunch. I chose a nearby spot and threw on a raincoat. Thank you, L.L. Bean.

I've never spent much time at Watson Park. I've driven by it on numerous occasions, visited the Braintree Historical Society museum at the head of the park, even given a lecture down the street at the Metropolitan Yacht Club. The park, today, is home to Braintree's youth athletes, with baseball and softball fields lining the banks of the workmanlike Fore River. These banks aren't defined, here, anyway, with soft, lush meadows. There are warehouses pushed right to the edge, signs that nearby Weymouth Landing was once a place of heavy industry.

But these very fields have more to tell than just outrageously inflated Little League scores and today, of a community clean-up in anticipation of a summer of sporting fun. Years ago, ships were launched from this spot. Beginning in 1899, Thomas Watson - yes, as in Thomas Edison saying, "Watson, come here, I need you" through the world's first operating telephone - built ships here, large and small, including the world's only seven-masted schooner, the Thomas W. Lawson. The business later migrated downriver to become the Fore River Shipyard. This was big-time, world-renowned industry.

I wonder if the robins and starlings playing the infield grasses had any idea of those days. As I meandered to Smith's Beach, adjacent to the park, I wondered if the Canada geese in the outfield (insert World Baseball Classic joke here) ever find any remnants of those days as they munch the grass down to bare earth. I wondered, at that moment, why it had to start raining harder when I was as far from my car as I was going to be today.

Time: 30 minutes.

New species: None.

Stranger hellos: None.

What else is happening: lunch with Michelle, our baby boy, and my mom; submitted an article on Coast Guard history to The Keeper; more magazine and book work.

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