I never thought an entire city of 600,000 people could be locked down. Here in my Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, all is quiet today. Way too quiet. I can count on my fingers how many cars have driven down my normally busy street all day. Not a sound drifts from the subway station one block away, even as I open my door to take in the warm spring weather, against the orders of my governor. I am not hearing the helicopters and sirens and loudspeakers of my friends across the river in Cambridge and Watertown. But I am still in shock.
I ran the first 25 miles of the Boston Marathon on Monday, at which point the explosions hit, and the course was closed down. Minimal information filtered through the crowd of runners, as thousands of us bunched up on Commonwealth Avenue, sweaty and confused, just short of the final mile. Many runners were in tears, incredulous that they could come so close and not finish. We had no idea of the extent of devastation.
I am one of the lucky ones, whose family and friends were not in the direct line of destruction. I was able to walk to a subway station and get home within an hour of the race being shut down. I have not yet fully absorbed the events of the last four days, or the current lockdown.
It is too soon to try to make sense of the bombings. All I can say now is that this horrific incident reinforces the need to raise caring and connected children, and create compassionate communities. It is hard for me to believe that anybody with such connectedness would commit such an atrocity. This is a time to draw family and friends in, along with those who are lingering at the margins. It is true that Boston is a tough and resilient city. Yet we live in a larger culture that has drifted more deeply into polarization, hate, and isolationism. If nothing else, I only hope that what has happened in Boston this week will remind us all of the importance of reaching out across our differences, and keeping everybody within the fold. The consequences of doing otherwise are painfully in view this week.