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Where I Run: Cambridge Reservoir Loops

My preferred weekday running routes can be typified by seasonality. This time of year, I’ll hit the Cambridge Reservoir loop 3-4 times a week, as compared to rare visits in spring and summer. The characteristics of Cambridge Reservoir match what I’m looking for when I head out of the house at 5am in October:

  • It’s about one mile from my home (When it’s dark, I like to stick close to home, in quiet, safe neighborhoods.)
  • It’s dirt trail (When it’s dark, I’ll generally avoid the local conservation lands; I am comfortable running in darkness but can get jumpy on trails when I’m alone. But I like dirt!)
  • It’s a short .4 mile loop (my running “season” is winding down and I don’t have to plan out longer routes)

The reservoir is located in my town and serves the adjacent town of Cambridge, MA. It’s a parcel of grassy land located on a hill, circled by a dense ring of upper-middle class homes that cost more than mine. The tanks of reservoir water are buried underground; around the perimeter, a tall black wrought iron fence keeps out most everything but the bunny rabbits. There is enough width for vehicles in between the iron fence and where the hill drops steeply into the street. So, naturally, the perimeter loop serves as a popular place for residents to walk their dogs and otherwise recreate.

The dirt perimeter around the reservoir

The dirt perimeter around the reservoir

This morning, I saw two people who I usually see at the Cambridge Reservoir. One is a trim, turban-wearing middle-aged man, who is sometimes accompanied by a dimunitive elderly man that I imagine to be his father. I’ve been seeing this man for at least three years. The other is a young man, tall and I’m almost certain Chinese, who wears headphones the size of pancakes. He is a slow but consistent jogger. This morning, he audibly farted right before I passed him. He actually really ripped one! I wasn’t sure if he had fully detected my presence behind him, so I sort of froze and contemplated turning around, yet inertia carried me past him, cringing.

The main reservoir facility

The main reservoir facility

What I appreciate most about the Cambridge Reservoir is that, when the weather is amenable, I witness the sunrise over Boston. And some mornings, it is spectacular. I may not get my dose of nature by heading into the woods, but to me, sunrises are concentrated hits of eco splendor. This humid morning, the layers of clouds burned the east a bright pink. It lasted for about 5 minutes before the pink that radiated from the horizon faded into stark whiteness.

I’ve come to a point in my life where I viscerally appreciate sunrises. Viscerally, in that I literally feel it in my gut. I feel a lifting of darkness when I look at a sunrise. I feel comfort when I think of all the humans before me who have witnessed a glorious sunrise, and all those after me who will witness a glorious sunrise. It is universal art, a universal experience, a universal metaphor for hope and love. I did not go to a church this Sunday morning, but I soaked in a sunrise.



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