August is one of my least favorite months every year. The heat gets very tiresome by now; the humidity takes all the wind out of my sails. We had that fabulous cool June, and then Peter and I were fortunate to be in Maine during the worst heat waves in July, although even Maine was hotter than I would have liked some of the time. Now August is being difficult, and I just want summer to be over and crispness to return to the air. I want the freedom to move around outside and live my life without being dominated by the oppressive weather.
Today I decided to escape to the library in Copley Square. We have only two air conditioned rooms at home, and I get tired of being cooped up in there; I realized I could take advantage of the library’s air conditioning and spend the day there instead. Shortly after a small breakfast, I took the air conditioned bus to Copley Square and went right into the library, where it was cool and quiet still in the morning. First stop was the café, for second breakfast, a cup of iced tea and a cheese Danish (Friday treat). While sipping the tea very slowly, I read my current library book, Diana Athill’s Alive, Alive Oh!, reflections of a 97-year-old English writer on what seems important as she looks back on her life–my kind of book. I looked through the Globe on my phone, wrote an email to a former colleague who is still working while I’m blissfully retired, and looked at photos on the 365 Project, which I’ve recently started, all while luxuriating in having the whole day ahead of me to spend in the library in whatever way I wished–a play day!
Filed under Books, Boston
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.