October 1, 2013
Here I am, visiting Boston for a few rushed days of motorcycle riding with my beloved club to throwing out a Facebook invitation to whoever reads it to meet me at the Boston institution, Doyle’s, in Jamaica Plain and ending up seeing two dear friends there. The air has the crispness of a New England Macoun apple and the leaves are just beginning to twirl down to earth in their annual autumnal dance. It is fall. It is Boston. It is New England.
Sometimes I feel compelled to drive past where I lived during my 26 years in The Hub, as it’s known to locals and the world. During these few past days, I got to go past at least three of them, one in Jamaica Plain where I lived for almost 10 of those 26 years before the infection of condoization coursed its way through my below market rent apartment building. I was on the subway when the rickety train of the southbound orange line rumbled past the industrial loft I lived in for a year. Hated it. No cappuccinos within a mile from the place that was adjacent to a chop shop everyone knew about but no one said anything as if it wasn’t really there.
And then there was the third place. Not that I lived in only three places during those years, no, no, no. It was more like nine different places I called home. But this one place is the one that makes me reflect on 26 years in basically the same hometown. One glance of it and I realized how big those years were in the timeline of my life, almost half of it, in fact.
The trees. The two decker house was a mere 100 yards from the MassPike extension that slices through the middle of the state then makes it’s way into Boston after coursing through the western suburbs. When I moved there in 1984, the trees were thin and the weeds were short even though they really weren’t maintained, just that the cold, harsh winters would kill any pesky new growth that would crop up year to year.
But the trees would stay. In the 3 years I lived in that house from 1984 to 1987, I had moved in with my husband, once had sex with a friend while both of our spouses were separately sleeping in other beds in other rooms, had my Maine Coon cat run over on the nearby busy street (the REAL Maine Coon that I had driven up to Bangor, Maine to get – he’s buried in the back yard and is probably no more than mulch at this point), brewed home brew beer with my husband and founded Boston’s first home brewing club (The Wort Processors, who are still in existence, thankyouverymuch), gone through the physical pain of sex with my husband which got diagnosed as endometriosis, stage one, did 6 months of steroids to stop my period to make the endometriosis “go away” only to figure out many decades later with my sexual awareness that it was actually the manifestation of the pain of my dissolving marriage since I’ve never had it since, separated from husband, continued to work at my commercial art job designing logos and lettering for shoe insoles only to realize that I was restless after being there almost 7 years and, having gotten officially divorced during that time, decided that I would leave Boston and New England and live in the camper that slid onto the back of a ¾ ton pickup truck that my father bought me because he realized I had dreamed that I wanted to get away from it all. And I did. For a mere six months only to return to Boston.
But the trees remain. The trees. Now so tall, now so thick with branches that they’d be impossible to count. The trees that have grown so big they block the view I once had of rumbling cars heading into Boston for their daily commute and the cars heading back home to the suburbs with their tired drivers behind the wheel. The view that I had to be able to tell what time of day it was, whether it was a weekday or a weekend, whether it was darkness or light.
The view is gone because of the trees that remain as reminders of how long ago the past is. How long ago it’s been since I was married. How long ago it was since I felt the tinge of pain of losing a beloved cat. How long ago my life was there behind the trees. How long ago I was there.
The trees tell time in a way my mind does not and they will be there forever after I’m gone with their roots firmly planted in the ground where mine no longer are.
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