Friday, November 21, 2014


It's a short drive from western Massachusetts to Boston, a city that has so much meaning for me.  Yesterday I posted a painting of Cambridge UK; today one of my posts will be a drawing from Cambridge, MA.

Boston from across the Charles River

Beacon Hill

1976 – I was 37 years old and the country was celebrating its Bicentennial. Amy was 11 years old, Beth 7, and Sara 5.  My medical practice of 5 years, which had been a source of unbridled pleasure and satisfaction, was beginning to lose its luster, as my mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing began to gradually decline.  Unknown to me at the time, this was the beginning of a journey that would take me to places I never could have imagined.

State law required all physicians to complete a number of continuing medical educations hours (CME) in accredited courses every two years, and I was registered in an Oncology review course at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  I arrived at the conference hall for the 9 a.m. session, and was confronted by an all too familiar CME environment: a large hall with tables set up in rows facing the lectern and a large screen, and smaller tables on the sides of the hall with coffee, tea, and water.  Each registrant was given a syllabus with a daily schedule lectures and an outline of each presentation, along with a pad of paper and one or more very sharp pencils.  The lights were dimmed, the first slide projected on the screen, and the speaker began to read…directly from the slide, the same slide that is in the syllabus.  It takes less than 10 minutes for the sleep inducing boredom to set in; this is the last place on earth I wanted to be on that day, and after 30 excruciating minutes I got up and walked out, and did not return for the remainder of the 3-day course.

I walked back to the hotel to get my canvas shoulder bag with my faithful Parker 45 fountain pen and sketchbooks, and set out to explore the city.  And explore it is exactly what I did, walking through every section and neighborhood of Boston over the next 2 days.  On the third day, I took the train across the Charles River and experienced Cambridge and the Harvard campus.  I loved every minute of every day; quite remarkable for someone who was not fond of traveling and sight seeing, and dining alone.  It was more than just the visual delights of the city’s e urban landscape that captivated me; I was experiencing an incredible sense of being centered within myself.  Everything was as it should be in my small world.  I was doing what I was intended to do.

Those three days in Boston 36 years ago were to mark the beginning of an incredible journey, taking me through the most intense years of my life.  Four years later I would make the decision to leave my practice and pursue a life as an artist.

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