My neighbor Jude and I spoke across a raspberry patch. Prickly sucklings run between our fence. The honeybees buzzed, the day floating down on us like rose petals. Wait. Honeybees? Why was Jude watering the raspberries? I finished eating all those red dollops of tartness and juice a month ago. Jude explained that a second raspberry batch is ripening, ready for September. A bumper crop this year. My garden bounces with beans, tomatoes, butternut squash, peaches and sunflowers. What’s not to love about summer in New England?
Let me tell you what I love about living in Cambridge. I share these fragrances with you as a leave-taking.
- I love the copse of 20 foot lilacs that border our eastern wall;
- I love trash day in Cambridge—all the recycling and street folk wheeling shopping carts filled with bottles to cash. I love our clean streets here.
- I love the family of squirrels chasing each other in the poplar tree. Yesterday there were three of them playing chase over three branch thighs—every time one would leap 4 feet to the other branch it would hesitate until the second squirrel took the leap, and then it would go round the trunk again. And again.
- I love that many different folks walk the streets night and day, with backpacks, strollers; women in long dresses and scarves; tattooed teens; workers with Red Sox hats on. Languages, shoes, food-to-go from all parts of the world.
- I love the Charles River. Really, really really love it. I watch sunrise and moonset over it’s amber liquid, I see red-tail hawks, green herons, and 11 inch turtles bathing in the sun. I love the ice floating on it, and the crew boats pulling over the surface like mammoth water spiderss.
There’s a cherry tree, by Mt. Auburn hospital known for the poetry that is posted on the tree, usually there are 4 or 5 hanging by string from a branch. I love drinking a poem before continuing to run—only in Cambridge can I imbibe of such riches.
- I love how many prayer vigils, street musicians, divestment groups, vendors of newspapers, even chess masters are in Harvard Square, a mile down the road. We have civil action and art with an attitude.
- I love wooly sections of Cambridge by the river. There’s Hell’s Half Acre with it’s warren of rabbits. on Magazine beach a 80 year old weeping willow and a young (12 year-old) sycamore tree spread together by the walking path. The willow dips gracefully over the river, cool and protective. The sycamore lunges its branches strong and wide– its old leathery bark torn off by storms to reveal the artichoke green cascading underneath.
- I love the children in my life: neighbors Emiliano, Daphne and Wenlock speeding their bikes down the street. Quakers Holly, Clare and Tyler laughing at everything and at nothing. I love watching Hazel grow tall, and hearing Kali on the viola. I already miss Lauren who loves to tuck all my stuffed animals under the blanket. Lauren, now 4, spent 2 weeks with her grandparents. She returned to her Mom, who’s a young, single parent. Lauren looks at her Mom and asks her in all seriousness, “Did you ever hear of someone called god?”
As I embark on this journey, may I take a child’s fresh look at our world.
In all tender ness this farewell celebrates our joys here at hand. This leave-taking is not a funeral dell, it’s a pealing of the bells from this day to the future. As I embark I see possibility; living in Cambridge I have known community.
Friends know that they can grow separately without growing apart. (paraphrase Eliz. Foley)