|Friday I had an early-afternoon appointment at Mass Eye & Ear, where they were so backed-up that it was well into rush-hour by the time I got out. I'm never keen on crowds, and it was lovely out and I hadn't gotten a walk in yet. Plus I was getting hungry. So I decided to walk to Cambridge and look for dinner there, and T home after, rather than shoehorn myself onto the Red Line at rush hour.|
It's been quite a while since I crossed the Longfellow on foot, and I was surprised by the sad condition the ironwork has gotten into. Doubly so, given how the bridge was half-closed a year or so ago, with trains running at like 5 mph — all ostensibly for repairs
About halfway across I caught sight of something balanced-out the rusty ironwork in my mind: An actual working barge — with construction supplies, even! — tied up to a dock next to Land Blvd, right next to what's left of the old Broad Canal.
Barges give me warm-fuzzies in a way I'm not at all sure I can explain. Hell, I'm not at all sure I even understand it. Olympia was still a working harbour, in a small way, when we moved there when I was eight, and I found all the traffic in the bay fascinating: the little tugboats, the floating log booms sometimes covering acres of the water, little barges with cranes, and the big ships with Japanese characters on their sides, tied up at the docks while the cranes lifted log booms out of the water into their holds. When I moved to Seattle, Lake Union was just becoming the urban playground it is now, and along with the houseboats (still working-class and Bohemian) and wooden sailboats there were always a few barges, with cranes and construction equipment, heading from one shoreline job to another. Somehow those little barges (unlike the big ones I used to see carrying coal and grain down the Mississippi when I lived in Minneapolis) came to be associated in my mind with a sense of rightness — that somehow, if a waterway is still a working waterway, providing employment for people who build and repair things and get their supplies by barge, then all is right in the world.