A View from the Bridge (Sorry, Mr. Miller)

I keep having a dream that I’m crossing the Massachusetts Avenue bridge connecting Boston to Cambridge. I suppose I could look up the name–doubtless one or two of you know the answer–but what really lingers when I wake is a dreamy possibility. Some part of me doesn’t want any concrete facts to disrupt that feeling.

Growing up I always loved the view from that bridge–an updated Monet painting, with the Charles River a big, dipping blue, sailboats and tiny motorboats bobbing, young and old people clutching hats and drinks. Flanking both sides were rising trees and sleek roadways–toy-cars in the grand scale afforded by that bridge. To the Northeast I could see the Museum of Science, where my father took me on Saturday mornings to study chemistry and cubs. To the Southwest were the parks, fields, all the homes I knew best.

I liked Boston and loved Cambridge but it was the bridge itself that imparted the most joy, especially from a trolley car, when we would suddenly emerge into all that air and light and view, o that view. The unhappiness I felt, the worries I carried, would smooth into the horizon, and for the duration of that bridge all I felt was joy and a communion with everyone and everything.

Lately I keep flashing on that boundless connection, that sense of limitlessness. I’m not even sure if limitlessness is a word but I’m going to let it be for this post–maybe for this whole period. Because I really am crossing over.

I know where I’ve been–youth, oppositional thinking, survival mode–but still can’t imagine what’s next. Experience has taught me that interstices are sometimes the loveliest places to be (has taught me to fear the future) and so even as I’m typing this I’m on that bridge on a cold spring day–wind and sun, sun and wind–admiring the view and the faintest tang of salt. Still in the past, still envisioning a grown-up life.


It’s called the Harvard Bridge.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy