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river and rainwater by Audrey C. '24

a rainy walk home

Living off campus this year means that I don’t head home until my last on campus Thing, which is almost always late into the evening. I turn on my blinking bike lights, flip my kickstand, and pedal as fast as I can across the Harvard Bridge. There’s a speedometer halfway across the bridge that sometimes detects me as a moving entity. My record on my rusty old bike is 19 mph; I wonder how fast I’d be able to go on a sleek road bike instead.  Only occasionally do I glance to the side and notice the glittery Boston skyline reflected off of the glossy black surface of the Charles River. As always, it’s beautiful. Biking over the Charles has become such a constant in my life recently, and I fear I’m starting to take it for granted.

It’s been raining sooo much lately. I romanticize rain when I’m indoors listening to the drumming of droplets on my window, but my daily schedule forces me to face the elements. In the early mornings and the late nights, the chilliness seeps through my jacket if rainwater hasn’t already. The warm days of summer have already breathed their dying breaths, the vibrant foliage of October has yet to come — the inbetweenness of September is just so… gray.

Today it’s raining again. Normally I’d just bike through it, but petrichor wafts through my window and I grab my umbrella instead of my helmet.

Because I rarely walk the path from home to school, I decide to take advantage of the slowness of it all and take pictures of what lies in between on my way back home. I am also motivated by my obligations as a Content Creator.

I exit Building 1 and onto Massachusetts Avenue, aka Mass Ave. Bostonian drivers are ruthless everywhere, but somehow signaling turns and obeying basic traffic laws (like not turning right on red when the sign says NO TURN ON RED) becomes especially optional on Mass Ave.

traffic intersection of mass ave and memorial drive

that “castle” is Maseeh, one of the on campus dorms perhaps most known for its dining hall, for better or for worse

Right after that intersection, Mass Ave gets you onto Harvard Bridge. Harvard Bridge is painted with tickmarks 10 Smoots apart. Some of them are funny.

The speedometer seems as sleepy as I am and does not detect me as a moving entity despite walking at a fairly brisk pace.


the speedometer that perceives me everyday as I bike across the river

Faint “stripes” of darker water cut across the ambling current of the river. They remind me of Moiré patterns, like the rainbow ripples that you might see if you looked at your computer screen through a phone camera. In that case, the Moiré pattern comes from the fact that your camera frame rate is not lined up with your computer screen’s update rate. I don’t know if what I’m seeing in the Charles is also due to some periodic disturbance in the water, as I don’t know much about river dynamics, but it’s fun to wonder.

Millions, perhaps billions of droplets land on the vastness of the Charles all at once. It’s hard to see in the picture below, but each individual raindrop looks like a tiny black pebble. I love throwing pebbles into bodies of water. I am easily amused by things.

rainy day on the charles river

After I reach the other side of the river (aka “the Boston side,” as opposed to “the Cambridge side” where MIT lies), I turn onto Marlborough St. It’s probably the bright red doors and the well looked after trees, but Marlborough St. is as saturated in person as it is through my phone camera. Perhaps this is why brownstone buildings are that shade of reddish brown; they stand out against gray skies.

reddish brownstone buildings framed by trees

I then turn onto the public alley behind my frat house. Commonwealth Ave in front of my frat house is more well manicured, but I enjoy looking at telephone wires criss crossing across the sky, at porch gardens, fire escape stairwells tucked away from the hustle of Comm Ave.

I’m home! As they say, “It’s not a frat house, it’s a frat home“. My Timberland boots are surprisingly waterproof and my socks are only damp, but still uncomfortable enough for me to throw them in the laundry bag. Taking the time to walk home has been nice. :)