Imagining hope, the future Somerville

(here’s the last bit of my imagining hope for the future of Somerville, from Tim Devin’s zine The History of Somerville, 2010-2100. A lot of what I imagined came from Starhawk’s futuristic fantasy, The Fifth Sacred Thing — in particular, the streets being dug up and planted, green energy, and the waterways that were asphalted over and forced underground set free again. Just so you know, The Fifth Sacred Thing is soon? to be an indie film. Click on the blue sentence to find out more.)


rebirth of the passenger pigeons

{notes from the future}

People are so laid back! Nobody walks around talking on a cell phone and clutching a commuter cup of coffee. They laze in the sun, or weed the gardens, or do Tai Chi, or dance and play music, or read, or write, or eat and drink their coffee at little tables on the sidewalk patios, or sit with their own picnics by the creeks and streams, or on benches and stones in the parks. They’re paying attention to the people they’re with, or to what they’re doing, or just watching the world go by. They make eye contact with strangers. They say hello and talk to each other. They seem to be enjoying themselves.

People are smaller than the people in my time – shorter, smaller-boned, but healthier looking – plump instead of fat, slim instead of gaunt, and a lot of in-between. They don’t all dress the same – it’s not business suits, or that other suit, jeans and a t-shirt. There’s a tall (nearly six feet is tall) person of indeterminate sex striding down Holland Street wearing floaty pink robes and headscarf, just for instance. There are people in monochrome colors, and ones in tatterdemalion; there are robes and skirts and trousers, shirts and vests and tunics; but everything is looser and more comfortable looking. Even the shoes look comfy, no toe-pinchers here, and some people are barefoot.

6a00d8341bf7f753ef00e55395884a8833-800wiI take off my own shoes to walk in the grass. The air smells sweet, and the light is different – less brown, more blue. Is that because I’m dreaming? But as the sun sets and a million stars come out, I see that the Milky Way is visible once more in the night sky, and realize, without the bird telling me, that it is lack of pollution that has changed the smell of the air and the color of the light.

The night market is opening. I stand at its entrance, on the old bike path behind the Somerville Theatre. The line of overarching trees is still here, but so tall! It seems more like an endless forest, this place, than a line of trees. The night market is lit by humming globes of light, floating in the air. They move as if they’re alive. What are they?

The bird answers in a word or series of words that is so unfamiliar I can’t hear it. I am about to ask for an explanation in plain English when I smell food and see a cart where two people are busy grilling fish and vegetables. A juice cart is close by, with heaped piles of apricots and plums and tiny strawberries. I am suddenly ravenous with hunger and parched with thirst. But what can I use for money?

It’s free tonight, the bird tells me. You can eat and drink whatever you want!

I take a step forward, wondering what to try first. That’s when I am pulled back to Now. I returned to this particular once-upon-a-time empty handed, with nothing to eat or drink, and nothing to show for my journey except these notes on paper.

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