Reflecting on Boston’s Essence (Revised)

Boston puts so many wonderful things together,
creating a unique, enticing, and hypnotizing city,
bridging past, present, and future.
Yet there is something more to Boston.
Something larger than even our best words can describe.
It’s easy to say Boston is one of America’s greatest cities.
But even these flattering words fail to capture Boston.
Boston is more than its uncommon Commons,
as beautiful and accessible as they are.
It is more than the crisp Charles River,
snaking its way through the city,
attracting throngs of people and sailboats
in the spring and summer months.
Boston is more than its notable history,
and the spirited role it played
in the American Revolution.
It is more than its many elegant
old and new downtown buildings,
scraping the sky with the tops of their heads.
Boston is more than Fenway Park and its Green Monster
and the feisty Red Sox who play there.
The city is more than its Tea Party
and all the guys powdering their wigs
to attend the taxing event.
Boston is more than Harvard, MIT,
Wellesley, Tufts, Boston College, Brandeis
and several other fine institutions of higher learning
that grace the city and its surrounding area.
Boston is more than the 600,000 people
who live within the city’s limits,
and the four million plus people
who live in the larger surrounding region.
All these things point to Boston,
but fail to capture the illusive underlying spirit
found in each of these pieces and parts.
Were he alive today,
it would be interesting to hear what St. Botolph,
the 7th century pious monk from Medieval England,
whose name is perpetuated in the name Boston,
which literally means Botulph’s town,
would say about the essence of Boston.
Perhaps he would say the same of Boston
as he did of the Lord Almighty: The only way to know Boston
is to experience her in our hearts.

Having just spent five days in Boston,
I would completely agree with this wise saint.
And contrary to what many people believe,
this fine city, so full of spirit,
does not live in the shadows of New York,
which the Babe left Boston for in 1920.
In fact, I have it on good authority that
the Curse of the Bambino is officially over.

9 thoughts on “Reflecting on Boston’s Essence (Revised)

  1. Boston really IS beautiful. Enjoyed your series on the place, Don. It reflected the experience on many levels.

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