After nearly a decade living away from my ‘home’ of New England, I have to admit that there’s nothing better than flying into Boston’s Logan Airport on a brisk autumn afternoon as I did last week and witnessing Boston’s skyline glittering with new and old architecture, the Bunker Hill monument rising triumphantly in the background.* Which is why the post ‘And That Has Made All the Difference,’ at the blog Image Guy, really struck a chord in me. As Image Guy writes:
It doesn’t matter whether my walk is a nature walk or a city walk or a drive through the rural countryside, if I can simply go about my explorations with sufficient openness I will usually be rewarded with images I like and didn’t expect.
Image Guy once happened upon my mother’s hometown, Lawrence, Massachusetts, in the 1970s, back when my hippie mother was still traipsing around the city in her sloshing bell bottoms looking uncannily like Annie Hall. Image Guy stumbled upon the city and shot with ‘Zen-like’ clarity the old Mill Town that was (and still is) clinging to its immigrant roots. His photographic journey reminds us that “there’s always somewhere we’ve never been and pictures to be taken.”
To me, Lawrence isn’t just a city in which my mother and many of her friends grew up, but it also represents the ‘immigrant’ experience in America—once home primarily to mill workers who hailed from Italy, Poland, Ireland and many other then-struggling (yikes, as now!) European nations. Constantly experiencing various projects of ‘urban renewal’ throughout the last half century that have dramatically altered its architecture and landscape, Lawrence reflects not only our American hopes and dreams, but also our fears and failures. All the more reason why we must take the road less traveled, paying attention to places we’ve never before noticed or may have otherwise simply passed by.
On that note, my next post will feature a similar journey I recently took along the Massachusetts coastline, discovering an amazing nature reserve and fishing town less than 45 minutes from where I grew up.
* Thanks, Mom, for always pointing out the Bunker Hill Monument on our childhood drives into the city and asking us what it’s called. I’ll never forget!