Boston, Trees, and Why I Can’t Get Enough

Alan BlancoBlanc Pages0 Comments

I long to see more trees, even though in a way I grew up in a forest. Just replace oaks and redwoods for skyscraper. You can just as easily lose yourself in a cluster of either kind of spire. My mother grew up waking up to the scent of pines, my father ate from an endless bounty of fruit grown on his farm. As for myself, I knew the cold touch of rebar, glass, and marble. I grew up wanting to revere nature the way my parents do, but I could never truly understand. I had nothing I personally felt attached to in nature. Don’t misunderstand me; architecture and the industry of Man can be a wonder to marvel, but I feel, as they say, it’s greener on the other side.

Vacation is a time to take a break from the ordinary. I just took one to Boston. How is that not a contradiction you might ask yourself. How is a city a break from a city? As anyone who has spent time in multiple cities will tell you, no two of them are the same. Boston in particular is a special city for me; here I found a city that gave me the best of both the created and the natural forest. Other cities might do the same, and some might do it better, but Boston was the first to offer harmony between man and trees to me.

The Commons

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50 acres of verdant land the city actively tries to maintain beautiful and welcoming. It is a great place to read a book, throw a Frisbee, try out muggle Quidditch, or just enjoy the view. Does it offer a complete escape from the city? No. But it’s hard to deny it how scenic everything looks, especially in autumn. For a boy from the land of always summer, actual proof of nature transitioning between seasons is pretty damn close to magic. During the winter, the city’s official Christmas tree is placed here. The lighting ceremony, which is a big deal to Boston, is an event I felt didn’t form any part of Los Angeles traditions. To experience something new was worth enduring the winter night’s chill. This park forms part of the city’s identity in a way no park truly does to Los Angeles. Hell, it’s in the center of downtown Boston and right in front of the Massachusetts State House. To visit is to escape into nature briefly.

The Public Gardens

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Without a doubt my favorite place in Boston. Although it is just across the street from the Commons, this location holds a whole different kind of allure. For me, this is a place for meditation and contemplation. Trees crowned in golden yellows and purest reds flank bronze memorials to American legends. It is easy to get lost in contemplation amongst so much history. I found myself thinking about the history of the place, both the local and national importance of this city, whenever I saw Washington atop his steed. When I was in a more self-reflecting mood, I found myself at the edge of the pond. The tranquility of the place, the serenity that suddenly appears on my face whenever I enter the garden, the fragile but enduring sense of balance with the city, between nature and city, between thought and action is what makes this my favorite location in Boston, perhaps anywhere.

The Arboretum

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For all intents and purposes, this is a living museum. I never visited this place when I lived in Boston; my first time going was with Jordanna during this trip. I wish I had gone sooner. This place offers the truest escape into nature without leaving the city experience. It is across the street from the train station, a highway is a few blocks away, and a whole community thrives just outside the gates. It sounds like the city is ready to invade this carefully arranged ecosystem of trees and brush, but step deep enough into the trees and the city melts away. Any visitor found here has made an effort to arrive; it isn’t a place most can casually visit in the middle of the day. I can only assume any visitor comes for the same reason Jordanna and I came: because we were drawn to its inherent beauty and that it is something to be admired for its own sake. Go deep enough and you’ll see no man-made structures. Go deep enough and you might just get lost in a web of amber.

I’m a city kid, born and raised. I could never abandon the city life and its comforts completely. Trust me, I’ve tried, I’ve failed. These places offer a rejuvenating experience to the jaded city-dweller. I know they always offer to change my perspective on the world. Is my perspective a little Romantic? Undoubtedly. Am I wrong? That’s for you to explore.

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