We've gone from the season of lustrous fall foliage to the season of fallen leaves, dead and paper-dry. A few bright amber stars cling to catch the late light, but even their days are numbered.
[Shorn trees, St. Pat's cemetery]
Dead leaves fall in the cemetery on the dead, saints and souls, the long deceased and the recently buried.
[Old stone, newly fallen leaves]
Now at 5 pm, after sorting and uploading my photos, I notice my windows have gone dark, the sun extinguished over the horizon for the next 13 hours or so before rising again to stay up for 10 hours and 10 minutes tomorrow, 3 minutes less than today. Meanwhile, the leaves continue to fall.
[Ghostly remnant of Halloween in Back Bay, Boston; 11/1/15]
Halloween fell on a weekend this year, and so I was in town for the various goings on. Up early on Saturday for a hair salon appointment, I caught the morning's Boston Common Costume Dash ginning up at Copley Square.
[Halloween costumed runners in Boston; 10/31/15]
After shedding my own salon-imbued fright wig of dyes and foils, D and I headed out in the early afternoon walking towards Faneuil Hall, where he heard some Halloween events were taking place. As we enjoyed lunch in a glassed in patio, we watched as various ghouls and goblins, witches and popes and hot nuns and super heroes and assortments of we weren't sure whats began converging on the area for a Halloween pub crawl. An early start for these kids, who would no doubt be partying late into the night. Ah, to have that much energy. (D went out to get the Sunday paper in the morning and saw one cow-costumed young man who must have gotten lucky, unless he just passed out somewhere overnight. The walk of shame in a cow costume .)
[Halloween pub crawl, Boston; 10/31/15'
And then it was nap time once we made it back home - never mind partying through the afternoon and night, we needed a nap after just having lunch. Later we headed back out to the store with visions of pumpkin pie dancing in our heads, but detoured off first to a block party on the next street over, which shuts down traffic for three blocks for safe trick-or-treating for little kids and parents alike. The neighborhood residents go all out with spooky spiders and skeletons, and candy for kids and wine or beer for the parents. One house went all out with live actors playing scary dead people, complete with a projected body-less ghostly head singing spooky songs. Fantastic!
[Halloween block party house, Back Bay, Boston]
[Halloween block party, Back Bay]
Then we got an extra hour of sleep that night due to the change back to standard time. A bit of walking around on Sunday before D brought me back home - now going home fairly early as darkness falls so soon. And back to work today. At least I didn't have to get up in the dark any more.
This morning I had to get the ice scraper out of the trunk of my car to clear my windshield. Fall weather was slow to arrive year, the fall foliage late by at least two weeks, but the nights are decidedly cold and getting colder. And more dark. This weekend we'll turn our clocks back and darkness will descend all too soon.
[Branches, Public Garden in Boston; 10/25/15]
In early October, we drove up to Stowe, Vermont to visit my friends who have a home up there. The last time we were there was in January, when we were charmed by the snow, not knowing that we'd be in for more than 100 inches of it in Boston by February. This fall trip was lovely, even though the color in the mountains was still spotty. More pics from Stowe here.
[Highland cattle, Trapp Family Center, Stowe VT; 10/5/15]
We also visited my alma mater last weekend for a bit more leaf peeping in Northampton, a couple of hours west of here. But the color is beginning to peak here in the Boston area as well, and everyone was out on Sunday afternoon in the Public Garden taking pictures in the slanting light before sunset.
[Picture taking at the Public Garden Lagoon; 10/25/15]
We also caught this photo op on the Lagoon Bridge on Sunday. I suspect it was a professional photo shoot rather than an actual bride and groom (of which we see many in the Public Garden on any given weekend) - the bride was too beautiful and they were too practiced at repeating the pose for the camera. Still, it was something to see.
[Lagoon Bridge swoon, Public Garden, Boston; 10/25/15]
We are entering the very busy season, or the even busier season, in my job. The clients need to spend their budget before the end of the year or lose it for next year. I have had some ups and downs with my ability to get a solid night's sleep, but hoping my latest remedy continues to work (self-treating with homeopathy for the night sweats and hot flashes now after every herbal remedy and HRT attempt have failed or caused intolerable side effects). It's amazing what a decent night's sleep does for one's mental and emotional capacity. Sleep, the miracle drug.
Anyway, as they say at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont (just above my friends' place), Auf wiedersehen!
[Found art, on the trail in Stowe, Vermont; 10/5/15]
[Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (The Children’s Chairs Project); East Boston; 9/5/15]
Back to school - that's what September has always been around here. In Boston, all the college students return, with their energy and verve, the vibrant music they play on the sidewalks around where D lives, and also their noise, crowding and indifference to older residents. For the much younger set, my work colleagues have been emailing around pictures of their children on their first days of school - the elementary school kids anxious or enthusiastic, the teenagers sullen or indulging their parents with a reluctant smile for the camera.
Despite the demarcation of the Labor Day weekend (the weekend that holds the first Monday of September), life is more fluid for me. I work full time in all seasons, and the summer is just hotter than the rest of the year. Our work isn't seasonal. But the longer days of light do give summer a sense of abundant time, the non-work hours more open for leisure and adventure. The same number of non-work hours in the fall and winter just don't translate to the same sense of plenty. But the fall has its own grace, the consolations of increasing quiet and inward-looking time - outside of work hours anyway.
[Marina, East Boston; 9/5/15]
The last weeks of summer are the busiest as we try to cram in everything we have not gotten around to doing but wanted to do before the summer is over. D and I went down to Providence for WaterFire the weekend before last. We'd gone a few years ago, D's first experience of WaterFire, always the most memorable (I'd been a dozen years earlier, and several times since, because I used to live closer by). We opted for the train this time, which took less than half an hour and dropped us off right at the RiverWalk area (even better, the train got us back without a sleepy~1 hour 15 minute drive home). And we got to see it in daylight before the lighting, which started while we were having a luscious dinner in one of the nearby restaurants.
[Gondolier, before lighting at WaterFire; 8/29/15]
[WaterFire Providence; 8/29/15]
This past weekend, Labor Day holiday weekend, we stayed closer to home, taking the T over to East Boston on the other side of the harbor with friends to see the Piers Point park and marina/shipyard area with its HarborArts installations. Piers Point is a lovely park with great views of the city and the harbor, so it's a great spot for wedding photos for the locals. We saw four or five different wedding parties having their pictures taken in the park at one point or another while we were in Eastie.
[Wedding party photos, Piers Point, East Boston; 9/5/15]
[Mural, Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina, East Boston; 9/5/15]
[Piers Point, East Boston; 9/5/15]
On Sunday evening, we walked over to the river to watch the sun set over the Charles River.
[Sunset viewing from the docks in Boston; 9/6/15]
The sun sets noticeably earlier now. There is little time from when I come home from work until dusk falls, the light begins to slant lower in the afternoon, and in three months' time the sun will have set before I even leave the office. So we begin to savor the light and the relative warmth (well, today it was over 90°F [>32°C], so quite overly warm). The nights begin get crisp and cool. The crickets chirrup through my open windows. Even with plenty of warm days this time of year, the summer clothes get put away, out of place for the season. A new palette for both cloth and landscape.
[Building in progress/lights at Lawn on D, South Boston; 8/22/15]
Buildings are going up all over the Seaport District in South Boston (all over metro Boston, actually). This area was a near wasteland for a long time. Friends and I used to go to the Institute of Contemporary Art on the waterfront and there was nothing out there, and seemingly the windswept frozen tundra in the winter. No more. Skyscrapers have dwarfed the ICA and though the wind still sweeps through it is channeled between buildings. Or parts of buildings as the spines of elevator shafts grow layers of skeleton floors around them and finally sprout skins of facades.
One flat piece of land behind the convention center, the Lawn on D, has made an attempt to add some life to the industrial growth. It has showcased some public art (see the big bunnies from a few weeks ago) and there's a food and drink tent with a DJ to attract young urbanites to socialize in.
[Tent at the Lawn on D]
We old urbanites visited this weekend so D could try out the swings at the Lawn on D, but there wasn't much else going on. At least not at the hour we were there, early afternoon. There was a stage on the lawn for later live music, but nothing had started up. So we walked over to the waterfront to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant before heading back home.
Between the waterfront and the Lawn on D venue, you pass through the lovely Eastport Park, another nice addition to soften the industrial landscape. On this late August day, the lush green vegetation wound around the mostly nautical themed sculptures of various sea creatures and sails.
[Shrimp, by David Phillips, Eastport Park]
[David Phillips' Hermit Crab, Eastport Park]
[David Phillips' Hermit Crab, Eastport Park]
[Fish Bench, by Judy Kensley McKie, Eastport Park]
I had a client meeting today across the river in Cambridge. The client, a pharmaceutical company, had built a beautiful "green building" (environmentally speaking) in 2003. I used to go there back when it first opened, for a freelance project back in my starvation days. Like the ICA on the South Boston waterfront, the building had been surrounded by mostly vast parking lots and a few small buildings. Now there are many other tall buildings, mostly life sciences companies, and cafes filled with young workers on their lunch breaks.
[Old hospital, decommissioned Fort Warren, Georges Island; 8/13/15]
I tried to write a post last night but was exhausted trying to string a few coherent thoughts together, or incoherent thoughts as the case may be. Writing professionally daily depletes my storehouse of words, a repetitive use strain of the brain. And so, perhaps just a few soothing images from my storehouse of photos from vacation...
[Beach in North Truro; 8/10/15]
[Adirondack chairs, Boston Harbor, from Georges Island; 8/13/15]
[Provincetown cottage; 8/10/15]
[Coneflowers (echinacea), Prescott Park, Portsmouth NH; 8/14/15]
[Sunset off Herring Cove in Provincetown, MA; 8/10/15]
The sun set on another summer vacation last night, though not quite yet on summer itself. There are three more summer weekends left, including the long Labor Day weekend, which falls as late as it can this year, the first Monday of September being the 7th. Still, it was back to work this morning after one week off (plus the preceding Friday, which was spent cleaning house and packing). I felt really sad, even weepy by mid-morning today (luckily I opted to work from home). I like my job, but I was just not ready, not rested enough, not bored enough. Summer vacations need to be long enough, and not overpacked with adventure, so one gets bored and ready to do something useful again.
[Last morning on Cape Cod; 8/12/15]
I was thinking last week that it would be so nice to rent a cottage for an entire week, then come back home and take some day trips and just relax. We'd likely not be able to afford a place right on the beach, but walkable to the beach would be good, too. We've been spoiled staying in rooms with a view. The last couple of years, we had two lovelybrief stays in Falmouth overlooking a small beach, Nantucket Sound and Falmouth Harbor, and a few years back two three-night stays in Provincetown's West End overlooking the moors. This year we did extend our stay a bit to four nights and booked a place in North Truro right on the beach, with a view towards Provincetown. It was a short ride to town for dinner and sight-seeing (we could have taken the bi-hourly bus, but drove instead, finding cheap parking, for more flexibility). We had the lulling sound of waves at night and the somewhat more raucous sounds of Ptown whenever we ventured out.
[View from the motel room porch in North Truro; 8/9/15]
Well, most nights provided the lulling sounds of waves. There was one night of very loud storm surge pounding the shore just outside our sliding glass door, which we had to shut tight against the wind. We had only one real beach day, but all of it was quite lovely.
[View southward from the porch; 8/9/15
[View northward, glimpse of Pilgrim Monument in Ptown; 8/11/15]
I was hampered from anything as mildly strenuous as a long walk on the beach because I'm healing from hip bursitis (nice to say "healing from" as it's taken time but does seem to be responding to physical therapy). No renting bikes this year either, which we'd done the last time we were up around Ptown. Slow walks down Commercial Street were enough of a challenge. (Alas, we were too early for the annual gay Provincetown Carnival, with the theme of Candyland this year! One of my favorite games from childhood!) We ate well (too well perhaps), saw the sights, taste-tested at Truro Vineyards, visited a lighthouse and the Chequessette chocolate factory on our one rainy day, and enjoyed our stay.
Not done with vacation sight-seeing when we got back, on a lark we hopped on a ferry out of Boston out to Georges Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. We had fun exploring the abandoned Fort Warren and the views of the harbor from the old ramparts.
Summer in New England is short, but oh so sweet. Nectar to the souls who suffered through the long, tough winter. This year, the sunflowers have migrated over slightly in the front yard, over a bit from the front window this year, but are suddenly in profuse bloom. Now they're feeding the bees, and in a couple of months' time their seeds will feed the goldfinches.
In the city, the kids play in the Frog Pond fountain, and we enjoy free concerts on the Common and brunch over on the waterfront with a view to the harbor.
[Frog Pond fountain, Boston Common; 7/18/15]
[Dispensing bubbles at Out of the Box festival, Boston Common; 7/18/15]
[View from Temazcal, Boston Seaport; 7/11/15]
Work has been a bit crazy, with some long hours, including a few this weekend. I've also had to spend some time in physical therapy for hip bursitis, not helped by long hours at my desk. But hopefully things have calmed some and I can enjoy some rest and more of the summer sunshine. D and I have vacation away coming up in a couple of weeks. And tomorrow I have a day off to go visit a friend who has a fabulous in-ground pool. I'm looking forward to it, both time with friends and the nice summer dip.
["Intrude" giant rabbit, at Lawn on D in Boston; 7/11/15]
[Big bunnies on the Lawn on D]
While D was away, I went frolicking with the girls out at the Seaport in Boston on Saturday afternoon. Amanda Parer's big bunny installation "Intrude" was up on the Lawn on D, an "experimental event landscape" behind the convention center. Intrude (so called for the invasive rabbits introduced in Parer's native Australia) is a temporary installation, just up for the weekend, but the "Swing Time" swings designed by a local architectural firm are a regular thing. They're solar charged and light up at night (the rabbits were also lit at night), but we were there under the full summer sun - along with a large number of mostly twenty-somethings, many of whom were partying at the bar under the large awning. And yes, I did try out the swings - surprisingly comfortable once you got in one.
["Swing Time" at Lawn on D"]
Besides the big bunnies, a very big sailing ship was docked over at a nearby wharf, the Portuguese tall ship, the NPR Sangres. It was open to the public, so we climbed aboard to check it out. Beautiful ship.
[NRP Sangres, docked at the Seaport in Boston]
[Aboard the NRP Sangres]
We topped off the afternoon with grande margaritas and Mexican food at a dockside restaurant. It was a pre-birthday celebration for C, who fortuitously for us has a July birthday, providing a yearly excuse for summer cocktail swilling. Given the hot sun, and the fact than none of us is twenty-something anymore, the cocktail swilling was kept to a minimum. But they were delicious.