walking across the river

I met up with Doriot this morning, and yeah, we did that. We walked down to the river too, after crossing the Mass Ave Bridge on foot. Actually, we met Ryan close to Harvard, and walked from that end of Cambridge down to MIT, across the bridge, down to the river, up to a bar, up Mass Ave to the crazed Christian Science compound, past the Berklee School of Music and the Boston Symphony, and over to the Cloud Club. I saw a turret with a little copper cap on the very tip, and that was a first, but I wasn’t clever enough to get a picture of it.

While it’s true that I could have easily rushed off to new sights (there are no shortage) I wanted to see the chapel again, I wanted to see the Gehry again, and still, I’ve only just begun looking at them. And Ryan and Doriot had never seen either building; that was compelling.

This is a view from the breezeway of the Saarinen chapel.

MIT Chapel glass

Doriot in MIT Chapel

The oculus (thank you Doriot for reminding me of that beautiful word) looked tremendous through the cut and welded shapes of the decorative screen. Very planetary.

MIT Oculus

Oculus 2 MIT Chapel

The screen has a wide variety of shapes in it; the solid pieces are mostly rectangles (or trapezoids) but the open shapes include acute angles, triangles, trapezoids, squares and rectangles. I imagine them to be deliberately placed; we suspect them of having meaning, following a set of ratios, of being able to vibrate or make music, or all of them at once. We wonder if the screen is language; if so, what is it saying? It’s rain, it’s light, it’s light in a dark place, it’s a beam to pull us elsewhere.

We can feel the water that courses around the small moat even from inside; the walls ripple, the water moves, the little wavelets slap at the curves. The water holds our feelings; our consciousness feels suspended by strands of light, it swims on a river of precisely calibrated waves. This is a building perfectly placed in time and space; it is equal to the depth of our minds, comfortable with the height of our questions.

The hairs stand up on our arms when we walk inside.

Two To Transport

Two To Transport.

Gehry Saturday

Robotic Hawk MIT Gehry

Above, one of CSAIL’s robotic birds in yet another window at the Gehry, MIT.  Perhaps you’ve seen it flying in one of several videos around the web, or a Ted Talk, or maybe you saw it flying over the MIT campus. I just love it that their AI lab is in the Gehry building; it’s crazy and perfect.

Below, the Mass Ave Bridge from underneath.

Mass Ave Bridge

Below, you see a small portion of the truly massive Christian Science complex. I must admit I had no idea that they were so well funded. It’s all vaguely disturbing to me, as is any stronghold of believers. Isn’t the blue sky enough? We have to look for answers, we are driven to choose the most beautiful solutions, whatever sense that makes, however we insist that beauty is not our guiding principle.

Or maybe we want an answer that provides future reward to a present that can seem like it frequently fails to balance out. I don’t know.

I don’t need those answers, I’m happy to come down on the side of good for no other reason than it is, in fact, the most beautiful solution to the problem of being human.

Christian Science Complex Boston  Sky Oculus: George Sherwood, "Wave Cloud"

The sculpture above was done by George Sherwood, and it’s called Wave Form. It’s part of a temporary installation, not part of the CS complex.

At the Cloud Club, we toured the garden, climbed the Treehouse, and I marveled at the impossibility of seeing everything. Below is a view straight up between Lee’s two houses; on the right is the one that houses the Cloud Club. See the white plaster shapes, peeking out through the vines? The portion that is cantilevered out four floors up is the piece that carries the glass dome.

View of the Cloud Club from the Garden

Ryan and Doriot Cloud Club II

Ryan and Doriot at the Cloud Club

Tomorrow morning I’ll take a train to the Charlestown Navy Yard, have breakfast with Bri, and tour the USS Constitution. It’s the perfect time to do it, as the ship is officially closed, and we can do groovy things like go into the captain’s cabin.

This is a photo that Gail Moore took when she dropped Bri off for duty, months ago.

Constitution by Gail Moore

8 thoughts on “walking across the river

  1. Your views of Boston are excellent; never knew that city has such variety! Thanks for sharing it all.
    A box is coming your way this week.

  2. I am loving your trip to Boston, Kate. Your words put me right there! You could easily write the best travel books in the known universe and as much as I love being a homebody, you are inspiring me to go exploring!

    PS: If the oculus photos were somehow made available to print or to purchase as prints, I’d be so pleased. Hint, hint :-)

    • Thank you, Ellen! The oculus photos will be part of the Love Letters series; they bring up so much in both Doriot and I that they are obviously connected and must be a part of our visual project. I would like prints of them too, so yes! And I actually do think of myself as a travel writer, whether going to the grocery store or to Paris. I should be more pointed about that; it would be easy enough to structure my writing that way. I think of the Love Letters book as a travel book through my heart. It’s a good angle.
      : )

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