Waking up in Boston on my birthday did not ring any particular chimes of destiny. And in fact, last night’s walk in the drizzle from Kennedy’s restaurant on Province Street back to the Four Seasons made the city seem dark and foreboding. Denver has plenty of homeless, but the folks sleeping on the steps of Episcopal Cathedral on Tremont Street seemed particularly forlorn, barely keeping dry. The Common and Public Garden, which seem like such healing expanses of green during the day, looked like good places for bad guys to hide as we walked along in the dark. After weeks of crystal clear weather in Maine, the elements have conspired to show Boston at its most dreary. Even the Boston Duck Tour yesterday afternoon seemed bleak. Our guide, one Vincent Van Duck, was a cynical artist bent on pointing out the city’s every hypocrisy and excess, including the outrageous prices at a certain hotel we passed at 300 Boylston Street. It was still a thrill when the creaking World War II amphibian splashed into the Charles River for a stately paddle around the basin.
Fifty-five years old appeals to me, since five has always been my lucky number. My only real problem is too many good choices. Denver or Boston? How much time in France? Book reviews or poetry? Do I dare to eat a peach? Today I dare to imagine living somewhere near the Arlington Street Church, where I will walk next for a 7:30 am AA meeting. But more than an imagined domicile, I dream of a birthday savored and remembered for simple pleasures, like this sweet line from the Big Book: “If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result.” (p. 78)