Walk With Me Down Memory Lane: Boston Marathon Redux

Great Blue Heron on Bough - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Portrait of a Great Blue Heron on Bough – babsjeheron

How I Go to the Woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

Mary Oliver,
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems by Mary Oliver

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Oranges Figured Prominently in the Boston Marathon – babsjeheron

Today, April 15th, is an especially poignant milestone. Ten years ago today, the Boston Marathon bombings took the lives of three, injured more than 260 people, and forever changed others. Indelibly altered was the sense of innocence and safety surrounding the Marathon. One small casualty: the joyful, often boisterous sounds of crowds cheering the Midnight Marathon Bike Ride of about 1,000 cyclists pedaling bikes along the marathon route starting at midnight the night before the road race. One large casualty: Boston areas plunged into lockdown years before Covid was a thing, as a house-to-house manhunt on foot shattered idyllic suburban life.

In what is sure to be an emotionally moving event, this Monday, April 17th 2023, marks the 127th running of the Boston Marathon. Nearly 30,000 athletes representing more than 100 countries are expected.

Let’s take a walk – er run – down memory lane today to honor the memory of those affected by the Marathon bombings ten years ago and to support the 30,000 runners taking part this coming Monday.

I am a solitary walker. My way of walking is the way described in Mary Oliver’s poem at the top of this post. Just change the last sentence to read “If you have ever gone on a walk with me, I must love you very much.”

And yet, there I was with thousands. Walking the Boston Marathon. All 26.2 miles. Twice.

For five years, I lived right on the marathon route. In fact, it cuts through the lake where I spend time with the Herons and Hawks and Egrets and Swans. The photos of the beautiful Mute Swan bathing were captured less than 20 yards from the Marathon route, as were the Bald Eagle eyeing the Great Blue Heron fledglings and the Great Egret looking at that Amtrak train as a migration option.

People who know me are aware that I’m recovering from complications from a broken heel and near-blindness, and so the only marathons I am doing for now are in my sweet dreams.

The photos below were taken from my street during the 2014 running of the Marathon. It was a poignant year, one year after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. Certainly the bombings at the finish line of the 2013 race were not expected. For the 2014 running, I had expected that things would be different – new security, new logistics, new “motivations” for some, etc. Media coverage in the months leading up to the race had ramped up, and I was prepared for the intense “Boston Strong” focus, but I was not expecting the emotional experience of seeing the many yellow shirts with “Team MR8” in honor of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old who died in the blast, and his sister Jane, who was injured.

There, beneath the lettering MR8 on those shirts was the word “peace” in Martin’s childish penmanship, the same young handwriting on his now-famous poster that says “No more hurting people. Peace.”

When I saw that simple word “peace” through my lens, I wept. I sat down on the wall and wept unexpectedly.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Boston Marathon 2014 Team MR8. Note the word “peace” partly obscured by the runner’s bib and the name “Jane” on the runner’s arm. – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Increased security prohibited outlandish costumes but didn’t bar utili-kilts and star-spangled tights – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Juggling and all that jazz.
The drummer played non-stop for six hours, and the juggler kept the balls in the air for 26.2 miles – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

This was the Hoyt’s 32nd and final Boston Marathon – babsjeheron.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Boston Strong – Boston Marathon 2014 – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Running through the crowds on the street where I lived – Boston Marathon 2014 – babsjeheron

A variation of this post was first published in 2014.





About today’s post: I have been nearly blind for many months and so have been largely absent from WordPress blogs. Eye surgery was supposed to take place almost two weeks ago, but has unfortunately been delayed until the end of May. Until then, Patience is the word of the day.

Because of my near-blindness, I’m not able to link in my posts to the various host sites for WP challenges/tags in the way I have always done in the past, but please know that I value the sense of community here, especially among the Lens Artists, Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, and more, who all encourage the entire international network of photographers and writers. Sorry that I cannot link directly at this time – this is the best I can do for now.

I do love a happy ending, and hope my eye surgeon delivers one for the Herons & me! Patience Grasshopper.


Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby One-Woman Show January & February 2022 – babsjeheron

Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface graced gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January thru February 26 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January through February 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

My Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. It was great to see so many of you there.

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by TCAN to see the wonderful gallery displays of artworks by many talented visual artists, as well as excellent live music performances and stage plays. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

As always, many of my own photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.



Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas have opened back up in a new normal, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past THREE years and they still need your love more than ever.


The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Click here and here to learn more!


My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – One-woman photography show through February 2022
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru January 3 2023
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

A Patience of Herons™

© 2003-2023 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick Center Cultural District, Boston Marathon


Posted on April 15, 2023, in ardea herodias, Art, Inspiration, Nature, Photography, Sports Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed your photos of the 2014 marathon. Hugs over the internet as you wait for May. Best wishes for an excellent outcome!

  2. My dear friend, I remember that day in 2013 and watched the unfolding horror from my side of the world, Vancouver Canada. Thank you for this extraordinary remembrance post which includes the word “peace” (I wept when I saw the photo) We live in a complex world that demands our highest participation and courage. Mary Oliver’s poem was a wonderful bonus. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Patience is not an easy thing to learn. Hugs and more hugs.

    • Many thanks for your empathetic words, Rebecca. I’m glad that Martin Richard’s “peace” moved you. I expect there will be many tears flowing during the Marathon on Monday.

  3. Such a charming post. 😀 😀

  4. I hope your surgery is soon and successful, Babsje. I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone.

    • Hi Tom. Thanks so much for your well wishes. And I agree, time has certainly flown by so quickly. Amazing how quick an entire decade has passed. So many changes in our world.

  5. I must say, I can find myself in the poem about going to the forest…
    Have a lovely weekend and greets,

  6. The post is just as meaningful today as it was then! May your surgery go well. Your posts are wonderful without all the links. You are brave to keep up your blog!

    • Hi Jonell. You say the kindest things, thank you very much for your encouragement and support! I’m glad you found the Marathon post meaningful and appreciate your well wishes.

  7. I always like your photos. Thanks for the reminder of the marathon, hard to believe it’s been that many years ago.
    Best wishes for the eye procedure, and that it works wonders. 🙂

    • Hi there! I’m so glad you enjoy the Great Blue Herons, I enjoy your own posts, too. I agree – hard to believe that a decade has passed since that fateful Marathon day and hard to believe how the world has changed in such a short time – the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, plus all the new technologies. Many thanks for your “works wonders” wish for my eyes. I like how that phrase sounds – works “wonders” will be a great outcome.

  8. That Mary Oliver poem is a favorite, and one that I’ve shared on my own blog. I confess that I’d forgotten about the bombing. I suppose it’s partly because the Boston Marathon generally isn’t on my radar; I know it happens, but I couldn’t tell you much more than that about it. The one detail I recall is that one of the men responsible was found hiding in a boat: I suppose that stuck because of my work with boats — not to mention the oddity of the whole thing. Here’s hoping for a peaceful event this year, and a sense of renewed purpose for everyone running it!

    • What a memory you have – yes, he was found hiding in a boat in someone’s backyard during the house-to-house manhunt. And I’m with you in hoping for a peaceful event on Monday, with a triumph over tragedy. I’m so glad you like Mary Oliver, too – she was a national treasure. Many thanks for your kind comment.

  9. Thanks for the beautiful post, Babse. Life is so hard and yet so worth living. Sometimes waiting is the hardest thing… May is coming soon, and with it, I hope, the sight through your beautiful eyes again.

    • Dear Lisa, I agree with you, it can be hard at times but so worth living. Thank you for your kind wishes and for the beauty of birds that you always share!

  10. It must take quite some effort to post like this, Babsje, so I’m very appreciative. That surgery can’t come a moment too soon. Hideous the pain inflicted, in such a callous fashion. Peace is such a beautiful word.

  11. Hi Susan – Martin Richard’s story is moving, as is the survival story of his sister Jane, who lost a leg despite being a dance student at the time. There are actually so many Marathon stories of good over evil, of random strangers saving other random strangers… I love that quote of yours “I want to be alone with someone else who wants to be alone.” Introverts get it. And thanks for your empathy about the surgery delay – it is difficult to not feel frustrated and impatient at times. Fingers crossed for a wonderful outcome.

  12. I got a bit blurry-eyed reading about MR8. I’d not heard that story before.
    Oliver’s poem and your comment reminded me of something I quoted somewhere on my blog years ago: “I want to be alone with someone else who wants to be alone.” The perfect companion for all occasions.
    I’m so sorry your surgery was postponed. The frustration and impatience must be intense. I too hope that when it finally comes, it works wonders.

  13. An amazing story Babsje! Feeling that collective energy is primal. A testament to the strength of our species against evil.
    The reason why our species has done so well.

    • Hi Wayne. Thank you. And you’re right about that “collective energy” – it was palpable all along the Marathon route. When I participated, I noticed that each “neighborhood” seemed to have its own energy and vibe. There were the enthusiastic and earnest Wellesley College women, and then the party-boy vibe near Boston College. The energy in Newton with its Heartbreak Hill was a collective urging one another up and over the top, and Brookline had its own very hipster crowds – including coworkers from my office. And then nearer the finish line, going through the underpass? By that point, most “runners” except for the very serious, were “walkers” briefly out of the glare of spectators. And all along the way, the energy of the crowds was such a lift – it carried us longer and farther than I imagined possible. And in the aftermath of the bombings that day? Yes, the energy has been a triumph against evil, as you point out. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      • Dear Babsje,
        the problem for us is, we never practised any sports, except chess. I suppose therefore we are all that healthy, slim, and happy. We read about this adrenalin thrill when practising sport. Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma will look into it.
        Don’t misunderstand us, we are not against sport but it is kind of alien to us.
        Wishing you an easy week to come
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Dear Klausbernd. Thank you and I understand completely. I am not an athlete at all, and I agree with you and think chess is a perfectly fine sport. I enjoy going on long walks, not as sport but as a way of being out in nature. I enjoy kayaking, not as sport but as a way of being on the water with my camera and the Herons. I enjoy bicycling, not as sport but as a means of transport. Swimming is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. I don’t understand athletes who become slaves to their sport, or perhaps addicted to their sport is a better phrase? But so many sports are certainly big money makers. I’m curious to hear what Siri and Selma learn when they have time and inclination to research. Chess is great in the meantime. I taught my daughter to play chess when she was 4 years old, and she beat me within 6 months. 😊

  14. A lovely ode to the Marathon and its participants Babsje

    • Many thanks for the kind comment, Tina. I’m pleased that my topic worked with your fabulous Lens Artist Environment theme this week. I don’t know how you keep on keeping on after all these years, and your inspiration is cherished.

  15. Thank you very much, dear Babsje 🙏🙏
    We liked your post even for people who can’t understand what’s all the fuzz about marathons and running. Thanks for sharing all these pictures which convey the feeling of the run very well – at least as we imagine it.
    All the best from the sea
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dear Klausbernd and all the Fab Four. Many thanks for your kind comment – I found it thought-provoking. I am not a “runner,” I’m a “walker,” and your comment made me think about why runners run and why marathons are so popular worldwide. Similarly, why does any athlete engage in their particular sport? I do know from first-hand experience that the “runner’s high” is a very real, very pleasurable biochemical reaction. Would i, personally, have sought out to participate in a Marathon if I didn’t live so close to the route? No, I would not have. However, I was 54 when I walked that first Marathon and I would not have missed it for the world. It was life-changing and life-affirming. Maybe Siri and Selma could do a spot of research some day exploring what the big deal is about Marathons? Many thanks for your kind words. My best to all the Fab Four of Cley.

      • Good morning, dear Babsje,
        we live similarly to you. We like to walk and go out with our kayaks for fun. Unfortunately, our playing chess is quite rusty because we haven’t played for quite a while.
        Wishing you a wonderful week
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Good afternoon, Klausbernd. Since I’m in no condition to kayak, I’ll have to be content with hearing about the Fab Four exploring in your kayak. Looking forward to Dina’s seaside photos in new postings. All my best to all the Fab Four of Cley!

  16. The bombing was a sad day for America. It’s brave of you to hold the day in memory. The remembrance of Martin Richard is touching.

    • Hi T.W. thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I’m pleased that Martin Richard’s story resonated with you. I’m not sure that it is “brave” to remember that day but appreciate your compliment. There are some events that every generation can’t help but remember, and for me, this is one of them, just like the September 11, 2001, attacks or February 24, 2022 – the start of the Ukraine War. Thankfully, there are also many happier events we can recall, too!

  17. Thank you for sharing this post with your insider’s view of the marathon. I hope the time remaining before your surgery passes quickly and also that the surgery goes well, followed by a smooth recovery. Best wishes!❤️

  18. Thank you for sharing the Boston Marathon history of that day when so many innocents were injured and died, I’d forgotten. My heart always breaks when this kind of violence happens, it leaves so many scars on so many people. I’m glad they remembered that sweet young boy and the tragedy that carries through the marathon with a positive message. I’m sure the wait for your surgery seems so far off when you’ve waited so long, I’ll keep you in my thoughts, before you know it the time will pass, I hope your recovery will be smooth and as pain free as possible. 😃

    • Hi Laura – I was touched by your thoughtful comment, thank you. You’re right about how heartbreaking that senseless violence is. I appreciate your well wishes for a painless recovery from eye surgery – fortunately the procedure has little pain. At this point, the hardest part is the waiting, with such limited vision. Thanks again.

  19. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos with those of us who regularly talk to catbirds — I’m eagerly waiting their return here in Maryland.
    Boston holds a special place in my heart and memories of that awful day and images of the strength and community that followed have a deep resonance. Thank you for sharing these as well.

    So sorry you need to wait longer for your surgery. I’m sure you are anxious to have the surgery behind you and be on the road to recovery. Sending best wishes.

    • Dear Martha – thanks so much for your warm comment. I love that you talk to catbirds, I have fond memories of the family that commandeered my backyard years ago. And I agree with you about the sense of strength and community that arose after the Marathon Bombings. Today is actually the running of the Marathon as I write this reply to you, and I have been hesitant, apprehensive actually, to check the news, for some reason. And I appreciate your empathetic well wishes for the eye surgery. The waiting is indeed a challenge but time flies. Thanks again!

  20. A heart touching and thought provoking post. May your surgery go well. My former husband had cataract surgery and ended up with better eyesight than ever. 😍🤗💕✨

    • Many thanks for your kind words, I’m pleased that the Marathon story moved you. Glad to hear that your husband had successful cataract surgery. I had my own some back in 2021. Made a big difference!

  21. A very moving post and photos, dear Babsje. I love the Mary Oliver poem too. I’m hoping for the very best outcome for your forthcoming eye surgery. Hugs to you.

    • Hi Sylvia. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, well wishes and the hugs, too. I’m glad you appreciate the Mary Oliver, what a treasure she was. Also, I enjoyed your own recent post about the Owls. I have a soft spot for an Owl that used to wake me up at 3am every night.

  22. Dear Babsje, thank you for reminding us who live far away of the importance of this anniversary, the resolve of Bostonians to carry on proudly and bravely, showing us how a community comes together after a great tragedy. In all this I sense the ways in which you, too, are Boston strong. Best wishes for a skilled surgeon and a swift recovery.

    • Dear Gary – thank you for your thoughtful comment and for recognizing the compassionate nature that arises in people during tragedies – great and small. And thanks also for your kind well wishes!

  23. These photos are so amazing. Thanks Anita

    • Hi Anita. Many thanks for your generous compliment, I’m pleased that you enjoyed the photos. I have also been enjoying your own posts, myself!

  24. I agree that going to the Woods alone is the best as you can connect with nature without any distractions

  25. Lovely Photo of the Héron

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