Monday, February 02, 2009

The weight of Dorchester


Have you ever wondered how much Dorchester weighs? We've all wondered how much City Hall weighs, but how about the collective mass of Boston's biggest neighborhood? If this scale is still in operation, it would be a good place to start. It is located on Dudley Street across the street from Nonquit Park.


If gravity is any guide, then Dorchester doesn't exert much pull. Egyptians, and we are going back a-ways here, believed Osiris measured the weight of their hearts against the ethereal bulk of the Feather of Truth. If your heart was heavier than Truth (Ma'at) it was bad news for you. If your heart was lighter, you would wander in Elysium Fields forever. Franklin Field, anyone? Dorchester Park?


Someplace as big and densely populated as Dorchester doesn't pull down the rest of Boston with its misadventures. Statistics pile up but life is lived in Dorchester unmolested and little noticed except as fodder for tabloids. The city of Boston doesn't suffer from having Dorchester attached to it. Quite the reverse. Boston thrives as a world-class city by all accounts.


Looking at a map of Boston, Dorchester is the city's pot belly swelling out into Dorchester Bay and limned by the Neponset River's outline. The city's pointing arm is the South Boston peninsula. Its swinging arm is Allston and Brighton. Dorchester is the guts and a gouty leg. You can't know happiness until you know its opposite. Dorchesterites are content at the end of each day. Having nursed their aches and pains, they sleep the sleep of people who have woked hard all day and contributed to their society and earned the respite of dreams.


The fog hangs heavily in Dorchester, especially close to the shore, and any malaise is quickly broken shortly after sunrise. How much does Dorchester weigh? It depends on who you ask. Most people find it a burden they can willingly bear. I won't say Dorchesterites walk like Egyptians but they do have erect spines and sharp profiles. They walk calmly and confidently into the dawn.


2 comments:

Pete said...

Uh, there is a paper in the neighborhood and it's not a tabloid.

Whalehead King said...

The Dorchester Reporter and its sister publications, The Boston Irish Reporter, the Boston Haitain Reporter, and the Mattapan Reporter, are not tabloids. They do not rely on sensationalism. Rather, they deliver useful and relevant news to the community at large which they honorably serve.

I was refering to newspapers that treat Dorchester as fodder for wild-west type stories that do not reflect the way life is really lived here: lightly and easily and usually congenially.

I don't know how to embed a link in the comments but anyone interested can check out dotnews [dot] com for the facts of what is happening in Dorchester. Thanks for pointing this out, Pete.

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