I was walking home from the hospital today through Boston. I walked up Charles Street to the Common, and down Boylston through Copley Square and to Newbury.
There is something lovely about walking through the city. Something that defies definition, something to do with the people who all have somewhere to be (it seems), all the people talking on their cellphones and hurrying to catch the light to cross the street. Something about how everyone is already playing Christmas music, about how the air smells like snow in the afternoon (well, snow and car exhaust), about the wind on the choppy Charles.
I love my city. I love the river and the people and the churches and the grime on the brick sidewalks. I love that all the streets have beautiful names like Milk and Commonwealth and how bikes and cars run, horns honking, through yellow and then red lights. I love that in between the high glass buildings of the MIT Media Lab and software firms are tiny greasy-spoon diners with chain-link walls in front when they're closed. I love the lights shaped like dancing people strung up above Central Square in winter evenings.
And I take pride in knowing the city. I don't know it as well as some do (my brother knows everything about the city, including where to find the best vegan pad thai), but I know my way around. I know the best bike route home from downtown if you have no light and it's dark. I know where to find the high vaulted ceilings of the andala coffeehouse and where to find a mess of eggs for seventy-five cents. I know where to get ice cream.
It's on days like today I love the city - cold days, days when noises and smells are crisp in the sharp air and you can hear the T on the Longfellow Bridge from way down the Esplanade.
Perhaps all this week (it's rounds - that means I get to go in every day) I will walk home through the city instead of taking the T. It's more beautiful this way.