Sunday, June 20, 2004

A Day off at Grape Island

Went out into the harbor this Saturday. The clouds burnt away and turned the day brilliant. It's quite cheap to take a ferry to George's Island--there are about 30 small islands in the bay, and from George's Island, I went to Grape Island which was supposed to have hiking trails and be wild as indeed it was. There was not a lot of old growth, just a couple of oaks and an impressive knarled willow in one picnic area, but the rest of the place was a tangle and jungle of underbrush and young growth, staghorn sumac and grey birch, aspen, and berries. The hiking trails were actually mowed and covered with grass, the rest left to grow wild. The mowed paths wandered here and there, some numbered into a nature walk, with benches to look at the view out over the bay, the distant Boston skyline rising like a mirage out of the water.

I spent the time identifying trees and lying down on the very meager sandy part of the rocky and shell covered beach. Saw a couple of guys who were fishing for sea bass but not catching anything. Otherwise there were no others on the island until later in the day when the ferry arrived on its second run. By evening and the last ferry, 15 of us showed up out of the underbrush to catch the ride back to Georges' island and then back to the mainland.

The ferry ride back to Boston was magnificent as we were heading into the sun, and the air was fresh and exilerating, the sky brilliant blue with wisps of soft clouds and the approaching skyline looking like a scene from science fiction, a strange and fascinating alien world. Walking back into Boston I just kept looking up at the buildings, enchanted by the story they told of archetectural eras, of grasping, of arrogance and beauty. It was a giant world of legos and building blocks, the shapes conspiring together to make a melange of space. Seeing the sky above and its mirrored reflection in the windows of towers was mesmerizing. And below there were the people, sitting on the grass, eating at cafes, arguing on street corners, opening doors of fancy hotels with subservient gestures, and then down down into the dark tunnels of the city, following labyrinthine pathways to the red T line and the jouncing jerky ride home while we humans avert our eyes politely pretending not to stare.

Incredible world we live in.

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