Friday, March 13, 2009

Proud by osmosis by choice

It is mid-March and Spring is making progress from misery toward a blossom of crocuses and daffodils in Dorchester. Dot Ave's cherry trees and magnolias will soon be in full bloom. The ground is firm but not solid enough to stop flowers from raising thier heads. The breeze of Dorchester Bay smells clean. It blows with a hint of April freshness.

Dorchester, Boston's best neighborhood, is bounded on one side by a bay made up of pure ocean water that laps the shore like a baby nuzzling and licking a teat. The Neponset River leaks accumulated nutrients into Dorchester Bay. The fish are feisty. The shellfish are meaty. Crabs are particulary robust and hearty. Seals who wander into Dorchester Bay eat like starved Vikings at a smorgasbord and they depart fattened and satisfied, ready to take on the challenges other, stingier harbors have to offer.

A curious anatomical fact: amniotic fluid has the same density as seawater. We are all nourished for nine months in a bath that mimics the ocean. Unlike Hyde Park, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Allston or Brighton, Dorchester stays in touch with the source of all evolutionary life, that richest of breeding grounds, the broad, deep breast of the sea.

Dorchester is home to the fruit of the womb. This statement applies to the citizens as well as to the formerly freestanding town itself. You have to be tough and street smart, savvy, cagey, and canny, to make your mark in the Dot. An individual needs to be able to steer through shallow, treacherous currents the way Dorchester itself has had to navigate unmappable shoals and rough spots in order to be the best part of Boston that it undeniably is.

Some people are lucky enough to be born in Dorchester and they have tenacity and grit in their genes. Others come here by choice. They gather the Dot's best attributes by osmosis after constant exposure to Dorchester's trace elements. The slag gets pounded and smelted away from the ore. After enough beatings, they shine with a polish that rivals the gleams off the pot of gold at a rainbow's end.

Live in Dorchester a year and you will be content. Live here longer and you become more ecstatic, more proud, and more assured with every passing day. You can't help but inhale promise when you spend time in Dorchester. The flavor of hope will stick to your ribs.

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