Every time I take the train from New York to Boston I relive my post grad school life.
I pass through Rye, my first stop after driving 3000 miles from Oregon with Ivy in the summer of 2001. I pass through Westport which I was dreaming would be filled with fresh produce and wonderful food markets ala Martha Stewart, but which paled in comparison to the fresh fruits and vegetables I could find in my own home state.
I pass by the East Norwalk train stop where I deboarded the commuter rail nearly every day on my way to work. The platform looks the same. We stop in Bridgeport and it still looks as rundown and ghostly as it did when I lived here. There’s still a promise of restoration, but reality is a much different story. As we lumbered out of the station and continued to head north I could see the downtown was filled with grey rundown buildings next to a couple brand-spanking new renovations that stuck out like diamonds floating in a sea of tar.
Beyond that we stopped in New Haven and it took everything I had not to get off and pop into see Jeromy, Anne and Ella. Maybe have a little pizza at Modern, maybe drink a little whiskey at Bar, or catch a concert on the Green.
From there the landscape changes to less familiar places, but beautiful bays and inlets that dot the shoreline through Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Finally the train rolls in to Boston, passing alongside the commuter rail stops that run to the city from the south making their way to Back Bay and then South Station. I can’t count how many times I passed through South Station on my way in and out of Boston, but it felt so familiar walking through the doors and heading to the T. I was back!
I’m so excited! My firm and I were awarded the Dorris Ranch project! Dorris Ranch is a public park near Eugene that is also the first commercial hazelnut farm in Oregon and they have some preservation planning issues that we’ll be helping them with over the next year. This was my first project proposal with my new firm and I’m super thrilled and relieved that it all went so well. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before the interview, but it went great and we found out the next week that they wanted to hire us. Of course the question now on everyone’s mind is why are they sometimes called filberts and other times called hazelnuts. My friend Tricia theorizes that Phil and Hazel got in an argument that has never been settled.
my visits to portland during the last ten years have included a string of scheduled and sometimes rushed moments with friends in an effort to pack a lifetime into a weekend or two. but today i got to spend an hour with my godson just because i was here and available for just such moments. henrik and i took a heavenly hot late summer day and played in the fountain at jameson park. while there we ran into dana, one of my close friends from college, and her son milo. portland is just one big neighborhood and i’m thrilled to be back in the ‘hood.
Packing up five years of work is no easy task. It makes packing up my apartment seem like a breeze. Projects that consumed me at the Olmsted Center needed to be carefully organized, boxed, and left behind for someone else to steward. The process was slow and methodical, but now it is all done. Someone could sit in my chair and hopefully pick up right where I left off (editing page 88 of the Hearst Castle landscape history to be exact)….
It’s been hard not to have Amy here during my last two weeks – the office just isn’t the same without my partner in crime. I’m going to miss stories about Sean and Brigid and the never-ending support she gave me during what has been a year of all-time highs and lows. No offense to middle America, but couldn’t we just squish the west and east coast together so there wasn’t as much distance between us?!
It’s been an honor to work at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and an honor being a fellow Bostonian. Cheers to what’s been a wicked adventure!