I went back! To Boston, this charmed corner of this beloved country that I so belove and that so charms me. Walking from Harvard Square across the Eliot bridge, nostalgia hit me hard. Here was the place where I had worked, the river where I had run, the bench where I had sat and agonized over the decision to move away. They were happy years, rich with good memories and dear friends. I stayed with one of those dear friends who still lives in the neighborhood I called home from 2012 to 2014. We reminisced about what a great time that was. He told me how it's still great, but it's not the same. I told him about how my new city isn't the same either.
I spent the last three weeks on vacation with my family, and I don't relish the prospect of going back to my solitary life. I miss this place where I'd felt such strong community. I know, I know: I recognize that nostalgia is unproductive, and the grass is always greener. Still, I'm meditating on loss and stasis and where abundance comes from.
Since I left Boston, two of my dearest friends there married one another. I visited them and met their child. Child! For the last 14 weeks, they have been building a world, and it's hard work, and they're tired. They're building a world for this tiny, mild, beautiful person with thick black hair, by whose eyes I was beheld and by whose smile I was graced.
I say 14 weeks, but no, it didn't start then. Nor did it start 9 months + 14 weeks ago. These good people have been building a world for this child their whole lives long. They were building it when they were camping and worshiping and talking economics with me. They were building it during my first nervous weeks in Boston, when each of them reached out to welcome me and make me feel at home. And when they did the same for countless other people here who were in some way new or different or uncertain or struggling. They've been hard at work on a world for a long time, and I think that tiny, thoughtful, black-haired human I held is lucky to live in it.
As I left their house, retracing familiar streets, the evening was warm and close without being sticky or oppressive. The air swaddled me. There was a lot in my heart; peace and melancholy. It was a sad and sweet day, but the sadness was hopeful and the sweetness was deep. It was a good day. It was a day that said, You can never go back, but this world's makers also did a pretty fine job. And they made it go forward.