created at: 2013-05-14Today I had the rare treat of having three whole hours with nowhere to be. Erev Shavuot gifted me with a 1:00 end of the workday, so following a quick meeting at Peet’s I set off on a run.

I wasn’t in a hurry and I felt like going long, or long-ish, so after meandering my way through the woods between Newton Centre and the Chestnut Hill Mall, I carved out a path through Chestnut Hill, Brookline, Huntington Avenue, the Prudential Center, Copley Square, Fenway Park, and Beacon Street back out into Newton.

16 miles later I was done, but not before making a grand tour of countless landmarks and at least eight colleges and universities: Andover-Newton Theological School, Hebrew College, Pine Manor, Mass College of Pharmacy, Mass College of Art and Design, Wheelock, BU, BC, and at least one or two I’m forgetting.

It was a perfect day for running, and with an easy, slow pace I was able to relax and appreciate Boston and all of its colors and textures. The blossoms at the Brookline Reservoir, the sharp contrast from quiet Brookline to the urban landscape of Huntington Avenue south of the MFA, the shimmering surface of the Christian Science Center’s reflecting pool, the smooth glass of the Hancock, and the red bricks of Fenway all contributed to my patchwork, multicolored mosaic of Boston images.

Most importantly, though, it was my first time downtown since the Marathon bombings. I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would feel, but I was overwhelmed by the memorial at Copley Square. The collection of hats and sneakers, the handwritten notes and testimonials, the tourists and Bostonians walking through the site… I was both unprepared and absolutely moved by the moment.

As I stood across from the Public Library waiting to continue up Boylston towards Mass Ave, I turned and snapped a picture of the Hancock, soaring upwards into the overcast sky, standing as a glass and steel guardian over Copley Square, the Back Bay, Boston, and the terrible memory that will be forever etched in our memories.

When I tweeted out that picture and hash-tagged #bostonstrong, it was probably the first time I did that and actually felt like I had something personal to back it up with. As I ran away from Copley and the memorial, I was just a little bit quicker, a little bit prouder, a little bit sadder, and a little more Boston.

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