I Can See America from My Back Yard in Boston

The throngs of people weren't there in the suburbs waiting for the train to take them into town. Many of them had already made their way into Boston, or simply never left.  A change of schedule, a day in advance for the Boston Pops performance in tandem with the celebratory fireworks display over the Charles River had been moved to accommodate for mother natures own awesome display of power and grandeur, Hurricane Arthur was heading for the New England region, promising rain and wind to dampen the 4th of July festivities.

Bostonians don't care about weather, nor do they mind an inconvenient change of plans, just let it be known that they will do what they want, and if they have to, will move a national holiday celebration ~ they don't miss stuff like this.  Our country was built on the grit and determination that those in the Northeast exhibit.  Arthur be damned, celebrating our nation's birth was going to happen.

The train made its way through the suburbs, continuing on its routine pathway into the heart of the city, each stop closer, growing crowds of people, finally making their own traverse toward the great banks of the Charles.  The car we were riding in was full. There were couples and gaggles, families and groups of friends, all of them relaying what they planned on doing, where they had decided on going, and what ever came to mind during their very public conversations.  A family, speaking in an Asian dialect scurried into a car.  The children, younger than school age, were speaking in both their parents' native tongue, and then reviewing words, letters, and numbers in English with their parents.
A large group of high school students pushed their way to open seating in the middle of the car. Seated across from one another, they goaded one another with insults, teases and taunts, laughing loudly, apologizing to no one.

An extended family crammed into one corner of the car.  An uncle was explaining where they were going to get off.  One of the school aged children questioned whether they had lost the rest of their party, four or five cousins, a grandparent, and somewhere in the mix was Dad.  "Three stops.  That's what I told them.  They should be ok, and if not, well.... we'll  keep an eye out for them when we get off and make the switch to the Red Line."

Our stop arrived, and we made our way through the underground corridor leading to the Red Line.  The crowds had grown. So many people wearing the colors of our nation's flag.  A number of soon to be spectators had donned face paint or hair dye, as if to confirm the festive atmosphere that we were all about to experience.

"Charles/MGH"..... the voice informed us as the train cars clattered across the Charles River to the subway destination we were all looking for.  The doors opened, and the entire car emptied out onto the platform.  There was no real "where do we go" moment, you just were a part of this living, breathing, moving crowd that took over stairwells, moved through gates, and spilled out onto Storrow Drive.

The further down Storrow Drive we went, the larger, more dense the crowds became.  An entrance made of Jersey barriers and movable gates had been erected to guide people to checkpoints.  Working through the groups, a man wearing an Anonymous group shirt stood by, looking for someone off in the distance. His large frame towering over the crowd that moved around him.  An older gentleman held up his bike, balancing the box he had placed like a basket on the front.  He was replenishing the water bottles in the melting ice, hawking each bottle for a dollar. His hand scribbled note promising ice cold refreshment. 

There was a semblance of a line, a rumor being murmured through the crowd that there was a check point.  Two police officers had pulled aside three young men with backpacks, explaining that they would not be allowed into the venue, and that there had been numerous announcements about NOT bringing in coolers, bags and the like.  The conversation stayed and the wide line of people moved passed them.

Two men discussed the ramifications of having to change their weekend plans together. They had planned on a trip to 'P Town', but the storm had just wreaked all sorts of havoc with their long weekend.  It wasn't worth the trip, cancellations needed to be made.  They turned at one point and informed me that we would all be 'wanded' and that my purse might not make it past the checkpoint without being dumped out.  Two couples to my right were discussing a schooner trip, and how long it takes to get from Boston Harbor to the Hamptons. Chatting about their adult children's educational endeavors, a graduation had just taken place and a job had been had. This day in advance celebration was not an issue. What had become the issue was what to do with the extra day that would now be more 'down time' for them.

We made it in, not to the circle (the area you see on TV), but just behind that line of trees (the one's you see on TV).  You could still see the stage through the trees, but it wasn't really the stage we wanted.  It was the bursts of acrid sulphur shining brightly, shooting up into the air.  The colors, patterns, working in time with the music being played.

After singing the national anthem, everyone standing, surrounded by thousands, we all sat back down, chatted with our company, hummed to music.  A group of four twenty something guys, after lighting up a joint, invited another person who was sitting near them in another group.  A few moments later, there were police asking to speak with them.

The line for ice cream wound down in a long snake-like fashion along the banks of the Charles.  A few hours passed, and then, it happened.  An announcement.  Apparently Mother Nature was ready to unleash a precursor to what Boston was to expect within the next 24 hours.  The fireworks would be moved up, they would begin in a moment.  The crowds of people cheered loudly, happy that they were about to see the pyrotechnic show light up the night sky.  And then, another announcement: "Due to weather conditions, there will not be a 'grand finale' and the Pops will not be able to play the 1812 Overture." The crowd booed. Loudly. If they only knew that the great Tchaikovsky himself detested his own piece.

The fireworks display went off.....people moved, walked about, watching the illumination light up the skyscrapers, the facades of so many buildings on either side of the river.  As the show continued, we began to move toward what would be our 'escape' from the crowds.  Milling about, stopping for a snapshot, a glance of the aerial display, we made our way over to the Boylston Street stop. 

Just moments before entering the train station, lightning flashed above our heads. The taste of electric, intense, we made our way to the station before the throngs who had been occupying the Esplanade were officially evacuated.  Sitting on the ride home, I realized, there was not one walk of life that hadn't been represented there in Boston that evening. There were numerous dialects, from across my country, to across the world, that had converged on the space of green and ponds along the Charles River.  Why, I guess, that I love Boston so much. All of us, together, singing, dancing to the music being performed. Waiting, maybe not so patiently, for the fireworks that were going to go off, just out of sheer determination to celebrate what makes our country great ~ all of us.