On a beautiful spring day in Boston, Adam Olenn is reminded why he’s glad to be alive.
Last week some motherfuckers set off a couple bombs in my city. They planted others, including a bad bit of business two blocks from my office at Berklee College of Music. It made me angry and sad. It settled the question of whether I’d have the moxie to pick up a gun in revolutionary times, or in one of those few unambiguous conflicts like 1812 or 1944, when one could fire at other human beings and still stand straight with the Lord. Even talking about it now makes my insides quiver with brassy resolve, like a bell.
I’d be a liar if I claimed there were no up-sides, though. My kids were on April vacation and I got stay home with them all week. At times that felt like the right thing to do, like I’d gotten the message from upstairs about living each day well. At times it felt like profiteering on the misery of my countrymen. And at times it made me feel brave and connected to a whole lot of people who acted in the kinds of ways that make me cry during a song.
On Thursday, April 18, I went into the city to give a reading. My wife came too. She has had this experience before, when she fled her office in Times Square on September 11, 2001. She wanted her first trip back to the city to be with me. I was proud of her for going in at all.
As it turns out, while we were leaving the reading some cops were just across the river at the MIT Corral, having a Bruce-Willis-style shootout with the bombers. Half a mile is too close to stand to a gunfight if you ask me.
Sunday, April 21, was gorgeous. The bombers had been killed and caught. The wife and I had a fight and made up and decided to do something with that clear spring day. One thing led to another, I found cheap Sox tickets on StubHub, and we surprised the kids with their first trip to Fenway. Our daughters were ecstatic, but no match for the baby boy, who at nineteen months is Wally the Green Monster’s biggest fan. Seriously, the whole day: Wa-wee! Wa-wee!
It was a great day. Up in row 44 of the bleachers, it’s wicked hard to make out who’s playing, but when you’re in the sun at Fenway with your kids and no one you love has been blown to shreds and thirty thousand people are singing their hearts out, who cares? Because it’s so good, so good, so good.
So good to be alive.
So good to see children with their lips pink from cotton candy.
So good to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of people affirming with our mere presence that we’re not scared of bullies, we can take a punch in the face and keep coming strong, living with our big, bold hearts out on our sleeves, right where they belong.
Image credit:Ryosuke Yagi/Flickr