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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Essay: Feelings Of Strangeness, Sadness In Downtown Boston

The makeshift memorials around the Boston Marathon crime scene have been moved to Copley Square Park. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)

The makeshift memorials around the Boston Marathon crime scene have been moved to Copley Square Park. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)

It just made me sadder. And I wasn’t alone.

A young woman, a runner, leaned against a pole and wiped tears from her eyes.

On Wednesday morning she was standing near the site of the first Boston Marathon explosion.

Boylston Street was open for business again, which also opened more emotions.

I once heard the novelist Richard Ford say he writes to control the chaos of his mind. So far, in this case, that’s not working for me.

Monday’s moment of silence was catharsis, ending with applause. But on my first trip back to the scene of the bombings no one was clapping.

People were just staring at the place on the pavement where the first bomb was placed.

It felt so strange to stand on the corner of Gloucester and Boylston, so familiar now in that video that shows the bombing suspects turning the corner to walk toward the finish line.

Wednesday was another glorious spring day in downtown Boston.

All those makeshift memorials that had sprung up along the police barricades had been moved to Copley Square Park.

And they have been curated with the same care you would see at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Neat rows of baseball hats, t-shirts hung along the fences, bouquets of flowers and the three crosses dedicated to the three people killed in the bombings on April 15, 2013, have their own special place in the center.

It seemed so orderly.

I once heard the novelist Richard Ford say he writes to control the chaos of his mind.

So far, in this case, that’s not working for me.

Alex Ashlock is a producer and director for Here & Now.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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