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Hill running

Friday 8/25/23

Recently I went out to Milton to experience the Blue Hills and conduct a workout in nature. The Blue Hills are an important spot to me. Many times I went to the Blue Hills with my dad as a child. I recall a birthday party there. You'd do an activity with your friends, and one time it was a robust hike up what is the highest point on the eastern seaboard, at 635 feet. When we went to my grandmother's, the Blue Hills was always a sight I welcomed seeing on the drive, the same as with the skyline of Boston when went into the city. I have the same feeling now when I see the skyline of Gloucester: the town hall, church tops. These places are home to me. I suppose I have assorted homes that way, these outside spots which partner with my inner workings and who I am.

The Blue Hills isn't the easiest spot to get to without a car. It's not hard for me, but it does take a little effort. I have to take the train to Readville from South Station. The latter is a mile and a half away. Many days I'll walk there and back three times for nine miles total. My walks can go anywhere--to Harvard, out to BC, to Coolidge Corner, to the MFA, to the end of Newbury Street, obviously to Charlestown to do the Monument, but in the last year especially I've done the walk to South Station as if it were a set in an exercise routine. I've run it that that way, too. I don't often run on flat ground, but twice in the past little bit I've done nine mile runs, the most recent time being this past weekend. The time before that was before the sun came up in the pouring rain. I was drenched. Those runs were done to South Station and back, repeating the trip three times each time.

I misread the schedule--or hadn't paid it enough attention--when I went out to the Blue Hills on this occasion, so I had almost an hour to kill before the train left. I was in my workout clothes, because while in the past I'd hike up to the top the one time, I do something different now. Rather than sit there waiting for the train, I walked from South Station back to the North End and back to South Station again.

Readville is where my mother's mother lived, and where my mom grew up. I like being at that train stop. I feel like my people, such as someone like myself has people, are from here. The way I go--which isn't the shortest route--to the Blue Hills is a three mile round trip. I cross over a parkway which would take me to my father's mother's house in a short ten or fifteen minute walk. My dad is buried in a cemetery that is off of the same road with the Blue Hills parking lot and trailside museum.

So it was twelve miles of walking to get to the Blue Hills and back to the North End, with that extra South Station circuit included. That's a fair bit of walking. At the Blue Hills itself, I went up and down three times at a brisk pace. I clamber over rocks, I hustle, keep it moving. No resting. That will get your heart going. Clothes completely soaked through.

Here one can see what is called Great Blue Hill--this the hill I go up and down, the one at 635 feet--off in the distance on the walk from the Readville train station, followed by some other shots, including what is a classic example of a New England wash or draw--I like things like that--and a fire house on the walk which I liked seeing even as a kid. It's small, and even then it struck me as something that had been there for a very long time. Just a quiet, 1930s structure of quintessential Americana, more in the shade than not, and pretty much unchanged to this day.

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