April 23, A spring workday

Wednesday, April 23 – The Back Bay in April

During the 1980s and early 90s I was a visiting faculty member at MIT’s Science, Technology and Society Program 5 times. I lived in a down-at-the-heels Jesuit set of row houses on Newberry St in the back bay. Most of those years preceded the march of well-to-do young people to our end of the Back Bay but there were destination places around. One was Charlies, a fine Irish Pub at the end of our block. Winter in Boston can be as tough as winter has been here. So, when the ice on the Charles River breaks open and daffodils appear, you feel like dancing, like noticing simple things with eyes prepared for delight. “Trudging” isn’t the word for walking in the height of spring.

A simple thing happened at the end of the work day on April 20, 1983. On April 23, 2014, Weather.com predicts gusty winds, lots of sun and crisp air, a little on the chilly side . . . . like an April moment thirty one years ago, on a perfect Spring day..

Enjoy today. Maybe we should remind our students to be glad — in the press of exams — that they didn’t choose a party school for their college.

john sj

Meeting at Rush Hour

A gust of wind
sent the metal street sign for Charlie’s Tavern
skittering fifteen feet up Newbury Street,
an unlikely sailboat
escaped, perhaps, from the Charles.

The clatter and improbability
set us both free.

She looked twenty two,
blond and lovely,
going the other way
and no doubt equally homeward bound.

In our sudden bemusement
at the sign’s startled venture
our eyes touched.

Then, the wonder.
We grinned.

Delight at our moment’s kinship
freed us from fear
from strategy and burden.
She flashed fire at me
and I, no doubt, at her.

A moment’s celebration quickly passed–
rare and winsom beauty,
breathed through two human forms
filling us with awe.

We went our ways with no word spoken,
both journeys blessed.

April 20, 1983


UDM campus, April 27, 2006


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