From my lean experience, I thought of Dracut as the boil on Lowell's ass. Then, too, Lowell has seemed like a decrepit remake of colonized Boston. Both viewpoints are right enough, and wrong. People + Socio-economics = People. No left, right, or u-turns around that proposition. Memo to the collective running for office.
To reach Lowell by car—trains and buses also work—you can take Rt. 3 and then the quaintly-named Lowell Connector. The Lowell Connector is a spur directly into the cauldron of Lowell. Where we turn off onto Dutton, there's an embankment with a large Welcome to Lowell message in white pebbles. There's also a sign mentioning Lowell Pride. We'll just assume that both statements are sincere.
Thru out the city are banners sponsored by and for UMass Lowell. These banners indicate how ready you shall be for work and life with a UMass Lowell education. Pictures on these banners showing good, normal kids, no evident piercings or tats, fosters the dream.
Our route needn't've wended thru Lowell's central clutter but we had a minor emergency meet up with Erin at the school. Thence we rode along the busy thoroughfare parallel to the Merrimack River. It's really a lovely setting, with an esplanade, and perhaps a junkie or two. I don't know about the junkies, but as lovely and fascinating as Lowell is, seedy if not decayed never seems far away. Still, there's a grand house on this busy roadway with a wrought iron fence painted a beaming gold, or gilded for all I know. Like architecture? Come to Lowell.
Beth's first stop was at a condo complex, a small enclave of townhouses on a busy road. Thick vegetation surrounded the complex on three sides, with a marshy pond visible thru the trees on one side. So close to the urban miasma!
Further down the road we saw homes of better upkeep than the Lowell standard. The land itself started to sing with rolling hills. The second condo complex was nestled into the slope of what I am pretty sure is a dell. There's a working farm next door. The third comp felt warm and inviting. I mean the land still remembered that life grew from the earth, back in the day.
Heading back towards Lowell we saw a church with large and ornate stained glass windows. Alas the dirt. I think one showed some chick holding a baby. The largest one featured this guy and a large boat with animals. I wonder if it was a scene from The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Just to keep things in perspective, across the street from the church was a corner packie. And next to it: a graveyard the size of a vacant lot. Old one too, but the chain link fence was probably newer.
The school is in growth spurt all over the place. The school is a pretense of fulfilling success given the closeby destitution of actual people in a rainbow of languages. And I think again of William Blake and songs specifically of Innocence:
And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love
Those are not easy beams to bear, in the rising intolerance of sanctified greed. Pope Francis recently said to the churches, Feed the poor or pay taxes. Good start.