I noticed immediately that most people in Lowell were hurrying toward something, as if being outdoors had become toxic. Yes, Lowell is a small city, but still it contains blasting vents and speeding cars and empty and gaudy buildings, all of the trappings of modernity. But pace Baudelaire and others, one can find an attachment to place even in the modern urban space.
On my walk I took a turn I’d never done before and ended up at the Lowell Canals. A gentleman sat on the steps, drinking coffee, looking down at the ducks quacking and floating in the water below. He seemed to be one of the few people who wanted to take a moment to relax, to take a break. I walked past him and ended up at an overlook.
I was alone. Next to me was a sign that detailed the history of the canals. It said that, at one time, people considered Lowell the ‘Venice of America.’ I realized then that history is always present, always there, as are connections between places separated by oceans and miles. I stood there, watching the cool water flow and letting the breeze ruffle my hair, and I took it all in.