Today is truly November, wet, slate gray and cold in a way that sticks to the bones no matter how many layers I put on. In short, it's not pleasant walking weather. I thanked the universe that I never did buy a dog "to force me to walk daily, regardless of the weather" and I happily opted for the warmth and golden light of yoga class instead.
As I sat on my mat, attempting to focus on my breath and prepare for class, images from a walk I took this summer kept coming to mind. My brain's just doing it's job - thinking, I told myself as I pushed the images aside. But they kept coming back, an antidote to the wind and rain I heard battering against the window. So I welcomed the memory in and basked in the remembered sunshine all over again.
At some point this summer, I was looking for new outdoor activities and discovered Meetup. Just a few days later I found myself sitting on the T, riding to a part of Boston I barely knew, to take a walk with people I'd never met on a day where the weather was expected to be 90+ humid degrees. What had I gotten myself into?
Finding the other walkers wasn't half as hard as I'd expected. I saw a woman who'd been on the train with me, who had a water bottle and looked just as out of place as I felt. "Are you here for the meetup?" "Yes!" That scene repeated itself over and over until a group of about 10 people, including our organizer, had formed. Once we were sure there were no stragglers, we set off. The plan was a short walk, just a few miles along the DCR Southwest Corridor ending at the SoWa (South of Washington Street) Market.
It turned out the trail (think sidewalk marked by signs) was a great way to see new parts of the city without any concern about getting lost.
These houses of worship were all on the same street, about a block apart.
We looked like we were on a college tour, all following the fellow with the baseball hat, but what did that matter? Everyone was there for the same purpose, so starting up a conversation with whoever happened to be beside you was surprisingly easy.
But the best part of all was the market. When we arrived I saw a parking lot set up with white sunshades and brimming with produce. I enjoy going to farmer's markets, but this just didn't seem to fit with the organizer's excitement. Had I been spoiled by living in the suburbs?
"You can stick with the group or do your own thing," the organizer announced. "Me, I'm headed to the other side of the market to get some lunch." With that he disappeared into tunnel through a warehouse on the side of the parking lot and we all followed.
What appeared before us was the very best parts of a fair without the hawkers and the puddles of questionable origin. It was a sea of independant crafters and designers, selling their creations, surrounded by a ring of food trucks.
I turned to the woman next to me and said "I thought food trucks were only in California", she laughed and pointed me toward one devoted entirely to the art of the grilled cheese sandwich. (If that sounds familiar, it's because that very truck was a contestant this year on Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race). It was well past lunch and they'd run out of their best sellers, so I opted for a classic hot dog truck where they made their own relish. It was unlike anything I'd ever tasted before. I think there may have been cranberries in it.
Fed and hydrated I wandered the stalls and when I'd seen everything (and done some very early Christmas shopping) I realized there was more to see inside the warehouses that surrounded us. Let me give you a little taste...
Some things just cried out to be bought as a set.
There was something joyful about the eclectic mix of items.
What more can I say? It was summertime. The sky was blue. There was delicious food cooked in trucks. There were artists and craftsmen happy to talk shop, and I had nowhere else I had to be.