Saturday, September 29, 2007
Alone in a crowd~
Today while Bruce is busy, I take my camera and drive to Blue Hills Reservation. Twenty minutes away, this reserve with miles of hiking trails makes a nice Saturday afternoon jaunt.
The beautiful weather drew crowds-- families, couples holding hands, friends, and the occasional loner like myself. I don't mind being alone. I thrive on it.
I watch people, I listen, I speculate, sometimes correctly, and sometimes not. Sometimes I start up a conversation.
I decide to climb Great Blue, a hill not much more than 600 feet, but high enough to have a weather observatory on its summit, and offer a panoramic view of the Boston skykline. I choose the red trail, rockier, steeper and more of a challenge than the green dots. I weave through the hikers and move ahead at my own pace. I'm not a meanderer.
Around a curve is a woman taking pictures of three boys. She's patient as she gets them to look at the camera. I wonder where her husband is, and think he may be just ahead. Often the men move quickly with a toddler on their shoulders while the mother herds the siblings at a slower pace.
I see her again at the summit, and later at the observatory. She's squatting in front of the boys. I'm impressed that she is taking such care with her pictures.
One of the boys makes rabbit ears behind his brother. "Oh, Tommy has such a nice smile. Why don't you smile too," she says and he drops his hand and smiles.
"So handsome," she says.
I remember how hard it was to get a picture of my three without the rabbit ears, or one with crossed eyes and his tongue stuck out, while the other two looked angelic.
Later I stand behind her as she encourages one of the boys to read information about the weather station. She's giving him all her attention.
"What grade is he in?" I ask. He looks too young to read such big words.
"Second," she says. "He's a good reader."
Then the rest of the story comes out. Two of the three boys are her neighbor's. Their father has just gone to Iraq. Her husband is also in Iraq. She is taking pictures to email to them. She has the boys for the day to give her friend a break. She plans to speak to her son's class about the war. She seems glad to talk. I'm happy to listen.
But I don't do what I want to do, which is give her a hug. I was by myself today, but she was alone in a different way. She will be alone until April, if all goes as she prays it will.
For more information about the Blue Hills Reservation click here:
Blue Hills Reservation