Landing Gear

We are in Revere, MA. The field behind the school is a grassy athletics field complete with soccer goals, tennis and basketball courts. Somewhere just yards to the south is the tarmac of Logan Airport. The grass grows thick here and when we set up just the other day, the ground was soggy and muddy from the previous night’s torrential rain. We laid down sheets of plywood over the muddy grass as the trailers drove onto the lot. We spent the morning tugging and realigning the plywood as the rigs came sliding through the mud, their tires leaving gashes in the earth that dried into trenches. While we set up, the neighbors in adjacent apartment buildings came out onto their balconies to hang laundry, sit in folding chairs, and watch the circus set up shop literally in their backyard.

And then the planes came.

Logan Airport is just at the other side of a wetland that borders our site. Coming from the quiet woods of southern Vermont, the roar and rush of a jet descending towards the runway was at first jarring, but then exhilarating. If I had nothing better to do, I would lie on my back and watch these behemoths overhead as they take off and land at all hours of night and day. There is immense power in the gracefulness of the great aluminum birds as they swoop in towards the runway. The smaller private jets have a lower kind of hum while the Cessna’s and other prop engine planes make a sputtering sound. It is the 747’s and other massive planes that make the air come alive with a roar that makes you feel quite small and powerless in comparison to the thousands of pounds of aluminum moving at hundreds of feet per second powered by four Saab engines the size of small cars. It is impossible to speak when they are overhead and when they pass, the tall grasses at the edge of the marsh rustle with the hot exhaust wind thrown behind them. Only then, am I able to return to my phone call and say:

“Sorry, I’m near Logan. Could you repeat that?”

One of the many observations I’ve made so far on this tour is that a busy schedule such as ours does not allow an individual to adjust to their settings. Just the other day, there were hay bales, horses in pasture, and peaceful, foggy mornings. Revere is by far the most urban of the sites thus far. In addition to the taking-off and landing jets and planes, our location is also adjacent to Boston’s metro system, the T, which clatters along going both directions until shortly after midnight. The blocks around us are crowded with apartments and gas stations. There is lots of pavement, real rush-hour heavy traffic, barbershops, Laundromats, and fabulous Italian bakeries, a far cry from the quaint and picturesque coastal New England image proffered by Kennebunkport just a few days ago.

All of that changes again tomorrow when we move northward one final time to Montpelier, making our way ever closer to home. I suppose we’re coming in for landing as well. Hopefully, it will be smooth.

Evan Johnson, Communications Intern

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One Response to Landing Gear

  1. Carol Ann Johnson says:


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