Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Sleepy Sunday in a Field of Dreams.

Today was our last full day in Boston. We feel we've only scratched the surface. We started the day by walking down to Griffin's Walk, site of the infamous Tea Party, where a replica of the good ship Eleanor sits. The first tours of  had begun and a huddle of excited children were standing on deck, holding tea chests above their heads.

'Let it begin here!' shouted the costumed interpreter and with a roar the children dumped their crates over the side with a loud splash.

We spent most of the morning taking a gentle boat cruise around the islands in the harbour. Boston is an evolving city. Landfill and waste is constantly being used to change and redefine its shape. The neck, which all but cut the city off in siege times, has been expanded to create the Back Bay and South Boston. Logan airport was created by connecting an expanded Noddle's Island to the mainland and several of the Islands in the bay are themselves man made.

Bostonians short on the time or money to head for the Cape ferry out here on hot summer days and picnic or paddle on the beaches. The really enthusiastic take camping gear and spend the night watching the twinkling lights of the city skyline from a distance.

It was a relaxed hour and a half. Incoming planes flew overhead, almost close enough to touch. The weekend sailors waved happily as we passed and all seemed well in the world.

The boat detoured a little down the Charles River to point out the Golden Stairs on the Charlestown side. The stairs led out of the Immigration Processing centre that operated during the early years of the twentieth century. Between 1920 - 1954 thousands of new arrivals stayed here in locust infected dormitories whilst they had their documents and suitability for work checked. For those accepted the stairs represented a climb to the relative freedom of a new life 3000 miles away from the purges in the Old World.

Back on dry land we caught the T across town to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It's been a shame that the team have been out of town all week and we haven't been able to catch a game. Nevertheless, I find touring venerable old stadiums, like Fenway, strangely moving.

They act as receptacles for drama, excitement and anticipation, moments when you, along with the thousands of other sports fans present, realise that things will never be the same again. Even in their latent moments, when the only noises come from the wooden bleachers creaking gently in the drying sun and the whizz of the sprinklers, they seem to echo with the sound of the crowd.

It's crazy really, there are hundreds of pitches, hundreds of strikes over hundreds of games over many, many seasons and yet each ground carries just a handful of phenomenal moments. Moments true fans long to say they witnessed.

The Red Sox cash in on this and all over the ground are small monuments and plaques commemorating the great, good and eccentric. The town is baseball crazy and the team have, over the last hundred years done all they can to create proud and quirky local traditions, that offer substance to the notion of being a fan.

In Section 42 of the right field a single red seat stands out amongst the fen green of the rest of the stand, marking the distance that Ted Williams, the great Red Sox hero, hit the longest home run ever recorded at the park.

Whilst others lingered staring back across the ball park, trying to remember their own moments of magic or perhaps projecting a successful outcome for Monday night's game, we slipped away and wandered slowly down Boylston Street, through the common, back to Rowe's wharf and home.

We hit the road tomorrow.

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