I like to carry my camera around with me in my daily life and look at things I might otherwise walk right by. I found in my files two recent photos I had taken of lanterns in places of major importance to me:
The entrance to my beloved Boston Public Library in Copley Square, the center of my life in the city. I looked up as I entered on a recent afternoon, to see the grillwork reflected on the glass doors, with the lantern shining through in the vestibule. “Free to All” is chiseled in the stone above the doors. In this library I take free classes, attend programs, get books, and always feel welcome. The cloistered courtyard in the center is one of the great public spaces in the city. Last summer I listened to lovely midday concerts there while sipping iced tea and watching birds fly about the courtyard and the sky above. My retirement party (one of them, that is) was an afternoon tea in the library’s restaurant. We citizens of Boston are fortunate to have one of the great libraries in the country as our very own, and I never cease to be grateful.
At the end of a recent walk around Jamaica Pond I noticed the lantern over the gateway to the dock shining in the gathering twilight. The mile-and-a-half path around the Pond is our almost daily walk, except when I am downtown walking around there. The Pond is a priceless asset in our neighborhood, two blocks from our home. I am forever grateful to Frederick Law Olmsted for his vision in making the Pond part of the Boston park system and the Emerald Necklace. It’s so important to so many people, and to us who live in the Pondside neighborhood, it is the center of our local geographic identity. Here I’ve watched the seasons for thirty years, taken thousands of photos, observed and come to love the ducks, geese, and squirrels, and watched sunsets and moonrises. When I moved to this neighborhood of Boston from Rockport thirty years ago, the Pond seemed a small substitute for the ocean, but it has grown large in my life over the years.