An Emerald Necklace

Many necklaces are special.

Sometimes a necklace is not a necklace.

Strung between my longtime work world and the galaxy of Boston hospitals clustered around Fenway Park–the first and last ballpark where my husband Jim saw the home team play–is an Emerald Necklace.

My day began very early, in deep dark, when I drove to Dana Farber’s Cancer Institute.   Along the highway were simmering meadows of black fog.

In Boston I paid a visit to the Institute’s Healing Garden, suspended stories above the city.  It bursts with white and magenta orchids and has a soundtrack of chirping birds.  Running close to one wide window is a lattice of intricate flora which resemble sailors’ knots gone wild–bright, curving tendrils like a hybrid of origami and undersea creatures.

Jim would have studied them closely, thinking about how he might engineer a similarly spectacular display in his own garden.

Very close to Dana Farber is an Emerald Necklace, Frederick Law Olmsted’s string of parks, which stretches from Boston Common to Franklin Park.

Before work and after rushing to a series of appointments, I had a rare opportunity to pause between worlds.   I slipped down to the bank of one of this necklace’s jewels, which sparkled and fluttered with Jim’s greens and blues–and the birds I think of as frequent messengers from him.

By a sturdy rock, a large bird oversaw five smaller ones as they navigated the pond.

On that same path, near those same teaching hospitals, Jim and I had walked hand in hand as newlyweds during the rare occasions I could meet him there while he could take a break as he moved through his medical training.

Young couples strolled with babies.   Much older couples walked more slowly together.  Some were quiet; some talked animatedly.  Some endearingly bickered.

I am not sure why this place affected and overcame me as it did today, as I walked that path alone for both of us.

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