There's a t-shirt out there that says "I'm so poor, I can't afford to pay attention." Seemed appropriate for these days. We're all on tight budgets, driving less, shopping more often at the thrift store than at TJ Maxx, (or TJ Maxx instead of Saks), splitting the bill rather than picking up the check, you hear the stories every day.
But when you're feeling the pinch, it seems more important than ever to pay attention and enjoy, for free, the cool stuff that a previous generation left us. That was what occurred to me when I went for a run around West Roxbury on Saturday morning. I had spent the night at a friend's house and went in a totally new direction for my morning run. I came upon a particularly beautiful wall surrounding Billings Field. There was a tiny sign saying "Built by the Works Project Administration 1930," reminding just how much an impact the last "stimulus package" had on our lives. I (and just about everyone else I knew) learned to swim in a WPA swimming pool in Durham, NH. I grew up driving under WPA bridges along the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, and I doubtless have run through and around a dozen WPA parks projects in my morning runs. Those ranting against the most recent stimulus package might pay attention to just how much the last one still affects our daily lives.
And speaking of paying attention, I grew up in Manhattan and never found it particularly pretty or appealing. Those spectacular views that people paid thousands of extra dollars for to me were nothing more than an opportunity to look at more ugly streets and buildings. But lately, I've been spending more time down in the southern tip of Manhattan. Thanks to PRSA, I spent a night down there last week, and went for a run along the river. In my pre-coffee, bleary-eyed state I followed the concierge's pointed figure and shortly discovered myself looking out at this:
And finally, in one last example of the benefits of paying attention.. last weekend, when I was cross country skiing with my friend Tamara, we paused to enjoy the view of the river. I turned back, and there was this:
baby tree with its arms around the much bigger mother tree. But it doesn't take an arborist to know that ultimately, when the baby tree grows up, somethings gotta give. Ah, the realities of growing up.