Nineteenth-century designers saw parks as breathing spaces whose trees would pump oxygen through tenement and mansion alike. Even the vocabulary of green spaces freshens speech—grove and bee, clover and pebble, pine cone and jay. Seagulls on the common across the street from my family’s house stand as stout as their kin ranged in loose ranks at the beach. Crows in our back yard could be black gulls for their mass and power. The birds sound off at the sight of local cats, this week fixed on a badger in a granite scrap pile out back. Squirrels that clipped the red and yellow tulips now scale the arbor dripping grapes. We named our vine for 9/11 after my wife and son made purple jelly for the first time only days after the planes were crashed—the vine like hundreds in our neighborhood, where yards rival Rose Bowl floats. Up early on Chapel Street, standing in the driveway, Joe and Teresa Silva hear the larks and the locomotive pulling toward Boston.
—Paul Marion (c) 2006, from “What Is the City?” (Evening Album Media, 2006)