The other day I took my camera with me as I walked to daycare. On that one mile, I pass through and past so many different stages of Lawrence: the historic 19th century mills (and bridge), the renovated future with offices and transportation centers, the incredibly depressed and depressing present of boarding houses and neglect, and the remnants of a modest suburban immigrant town.
I’ve created this album so that you can walk with me.
I work in Lawrence, Massachusetts right next to the Merrimack River. In fact, I can see the water from where I am sitting right now (although my view is now obscured by foliage). In this stretch of Lawrence, there are four bridges over the river. There’s the freeway bridge that 495 uses. There’s the “Duck Bridge”, a green metal 19th century construct which is right next to us. Then up river there are two more bridges, the nearest of which is currently under construction.
For the last two weeks, the Duck Bridge has been out of commission while they do some utility work on it, which has involved digging up the approaches and making lots of holes in the road. This has impacted me greatly. You see, daycare is on the other side of that bridge, almost exactly a mile away. I have had to drive around the bridge, but due to construction and traffic and lights etc. the bridge outage has added nearly 10 minutes to my “in Lawrence” commute. I usually go see the boys during lunch, but it has been taking prohibitively long to drive there so I’ve started walking. This has actually been lovely — to get out and get exercise. My only concerns are that it takes longer than I usually schedule, and I’m really not walking through the nicest parts of town. In particular there’s what can only be described as flop house that I pass. I’m careful to stay alert and not carry anything of value. But the exercise has been nice.
Another effect has been that there’s construction right outside my window. I could live without the jackhammers, but it’s been fascinating to watch them work. Construction workers are amazing with their big machines. The other day I watched this guy with a digger use it to pick up two construction cones and move them. I can’t believe the dexterity with which they use their machines, as though they’re extensions of their bodies. It’s very interesting.
The bridge is supposed to reopen this weekend, for now. But I’m informed that next year they’re going to totally rebuild the bridge. It certainly needs it. But it will be out for THREE YEARS at that point. I’m going to be severely impacted.
Ah well. Maybe it will result in me getting more exercise!