We had set aside yesterday for my traditional time alone with Kiera (following trip to bowling alley several days ago with Drew). She wanted to buy a certain necklace at a shop in Cambridge that she had seen on her Girl Scout trip there to Harvard’s Natural History Museum last Saturday. I said okay, let’s do that for our outing. So we did. But not without mishap. . . .
Sean had said to follow Route 2 to “Alewife,” park in the garage, and take the T-Line from there into Harvard Square. Said “Alewife” was just past Route 128. I’m driving merrily along, just past Route 128, looking for the promised big grey parking garage and the sign, on the right. Kiera is silent, busy looking down at her ipod (of course). I’m getting worried. Where is it? Should I have turned on 2A? Aaaah . . . there it is. I drive off the ramp which leads directly to the garage. Good! And then spend the next 20 minutes, I kid you not, driving inside that infernal building looking for an empty spot. Along with a number of other drivers, also looking. No luck.
During this time Kiera, sensing my upset, has, periodically, looked up and out.
Finally, exasperated, I tell her that I’m going to leave the garage. That this isn’t working. I go back down the ramp. Oops! Wrong ramp! I’m going down the up ramp! I turn around at the bottom, go back up, and start down again, on the other ramp. Get back to the gate. Put my ticket in. It immediately spits back out, with screen saying “Refused. No information.” Of course the gate itself is closed. Now what? I try again. Same result.
Luckily, I mean VERRRY LUCKILY, a woman in an official looking blue shirt has approached the car next to mine, also trying to get out. I yell to her, would you please help me next? She does. Tells me I had driven in just as they were about to close the gates as FULL.
Okay. Back on the road. I’m discouraged. Can’t figure out how to get to Cambridge from here. Can’t even figure out where Route 2 is anymore. Tell Kiera, “Let’s just go back to Concord.” That’s close to home. By this time her head has been up for awhile and she is engaged. Nods it. Then says, suddenly, authoritatively, “Where’s your phone?” I hand it to her. She proceeds to figure out a way to help us get where we’re going. Meanwhile, I see a sign to Cambridge and take it. Okay, we’re going to Cambridge after all! — with her help, calling out street by street until done. We manage to actually park in one of the few on-street parking spaces that is not either still covered by piled snow or encasing a car inside a cage of snow since several storms ago.
On our way to the jewelry shop I see a circular decal on a window, “Cambridge Local First” WOW! Then more and more of them. Finally, I take a picture of one.
This morning I googled “Cambridge Local First” and yep, here it is! Check it out.
Then of course, since I’m the “paranoid” type, I wonder whether this local movement has been infected with top-down Agenda 21. Hmmm. Must investigate. And that led me to wonder about the relationship between Chambers of Commerce nationwide and Local First movements, and just how they are aligned, if at all. Chambers of Commerce seem to promote local business of any kind including multinational corporations, whereas I assume Local Firsters are more aligned with the Transition Town movement (which can also be infected with Agenda 21, however). All so confusing! Here’s San Diego, with a heavily militarized economy, where the Chamber of Commerce is explicitly promoting “Local First:” www.thinklocalfirst.org. So what does that really mean?
Has the San Diego Chamber of Commerce coopted what we think of as an explictely green initiative? Ye gods. It’s all so confusing. But these Local First decals? Still a good idea, and I will take the idea back to Bloomington. Show the slide, speak to the City Council during their open mike session, and who knows what else to get Buy Local Bloomington decals in our stores.
At lunch (Panera’s, so Kiera could have macaroni and cheese), Kiera and I both briefly put away our screens and she talked animatedly about her time with horses in New Hampshire last summer, how much fun it was riding freely over the fields with no adults, just kids and their horses on trails. She knew I, who had done the same as a child, could relate. The subject of horses tends to preoccupy us both.
After lunch we meandered through the many buildings of the Harvard Coop and then went to her favorite bead store in the Square. Just looking, no purchases, though she did finger a huge number of tiny beads, peering closely.
On the way home, with Kiera navigating, it started to snow. AGAIN. Sue and I, on skiis, with bounding puppy Shadow, had broken trail early yesterday morning at the arboretum, after another foot of snow had fallen.
After crawling along the last ten miles we finally arrived home and I could turn off the car. I looked around. First left, beyond snow walls to Sean and Sue’s three snow-covered Garden Towers, (invented and produced by Sean’s brother Colin) which stand like sentinels, dormant, waiting for spring —
Next, I look out front, toward the house —
And finally, to Kiera, lifting her head to drink in the snowy sky.