A park less that half a mile long that runs along either side of the muddy river. the trail is paved on the northern side and covered in some imported gray sand on the south. Maybe for the silence and maybe in case the tiny muddy overflows it's banks, the park was built with earthen walls, embankments that sometimes level out fifteen feet above the trail.
When you walk along the Riverway in the day you notice the tall reeds along the side, ducks and geese gathering by the only place that could hope to be called a shore. Sometimes you will see the large brown fish traveling in the shallows at the western end. But mostly, you will see the trees.
At night this park is a very different place. With only one light along the trail and walls of earth to keep people from seeing in, the park becomes abandoned by its daytime inhabitants.
Coming from the east to the southern trail tall streetlights light the entrance and make the shadows seem dark and black. A classic example of where not to go in a city. But, as you pass beyond the shadowy arch of trees you notice the sky. A sky that is filled with softened orange light. With no one on the benches, the darkened trees and reeds beside you, your face lifts upwards to watch the stars among the leaves.
Halfway along the trail you pass under a large red stone bridge with salty stalactites clinging underneath. Under the northern end lives a darkened troll.Passing quietly in the night I hear him turning in his bed. ebony lets a few quiet woofs to warn me that he's there. He wakes up around 7:30, dawns his worn straw hat, and rolls up his bed.
Some days when you pass him he'll voice loudly mumbled obscenities you can never quite make out and jab his fist into the air. Sometimes I wonder if he has Tourette's or, if the years of living on the street have made him bitter at the world.
But I continue on, frasier weaving back and forth before me, ebonys nails clicking as she follows right behind my feet. Trolls and bridges safely passed, my head turns skyward and sees grandmother moon, a white crescent, hanging in the sky. Above my head, and just behind, Orion guards my travels.
I know I shouldn't walk her now, but there's something special about that park at night.
As the sun starts to rise, multi-colored joggers start to fill the path. Tracking farther across the heavens people come with bread for ducks, or just to stroll past golden yellow leaves.
This is the riverway I know, and it feels like home.
You can reach the riverway by T
if you take the D line to the Longwood stop which runs along the northern edge. Situated mostly in Boston
, and a little in Brookline
, it is the second in a series of parks that make up the Emerald Necklace