Even the most ordinary spaces can be grounds for adventure.
The other day, my boyfriend and I convened for an unplanned late lunch at the Summer Shack in Cambridge, MA. We were seated outside beneath a tent under the bright blue, September sky and comfortable in the breezy, fresh air. The weather was so nice, it can trick you into thinking that all is right in the world. Not wanting to head back home so quickly on this gorgeous day, I suggested that we take a short walk around the area.
Heading north from Summer Shack, we traversed the vacant parking lot and crossed the street to where the Alewife “T” station sits. Just behind the station lies the Alewife Brook Reservation, a nature spot and walking path (more here) that I was planning to visit. However, as we were walking around the exterior of the “T” station, I pointed out something peculiar. There was a very tall tree peeking out behind the stone walls of the station (see pic above). We wondered whether the tree we saw was really so tall or, perhaps, it was planted on some sort of higher level. Intrigued with nowhere to be, we went to investigate.
Although the Alewife “T” station is a hub for commuters from Boston’s northern suburbs, over the weekends, it is rather quiet. Without wasting any time trying to locate an appropriate entrance to the section where we spotted the tree, we walked straight up the down ramp of the parking garage. The brutalist construction of the station makes it so the solid concrete walls give nothing away about the interior structure. For this reason, it wasn’t until we were following the ramp up the parking garage that we could clearly see that the tree was enclosed in a little patch of soil. The tree was indeed towering, and it wasn’t just one solemn tree rather a tiny ecosystem. The scene was like a life-sized terrarium where the concrete walls acted as the encapsulating barrier.
We continued to snake our way up the ramp and were pleased to discover that this section of the parking garage was closed off to cars. For this reason, the top level of the parking garage was stark empty. There was so much space up there and one could see the city for miles in all directions. To the east, we could even see the city of Everett, where the Encore Boston Harbor hotel and casino is located (more here). It all looks so beautiful from the top. We took plenty of photos as we drank in our surroundings. We even regarded Summer Shack from this new height. It’s amazing how different things can look when you change your perspective.
Finally, we decided to head back down, but this time, we took the stairs. The parking garage has different levels, but the top few are completely empty. Concrete, metal, and glass in all directions kind of gave me the feeling that we were entering into some sort of dystopian scene. But, sure enough, as we descended to the lower levels of the station, the parking spots were filled with cars and the benches with people.
It all happened so fast. In one minute, it felt like we were embarking on an adventure — new sights, new angles, new perspectives — and then in the next, we were thrust back into our world of ordinary and familiar. As weird as it is to say — our jaunt through the parking garage was a rush. Do I need to get out more?