Loud

On Sunday mornings when I’m scheduled to give consulting interviews at the Cambridge Zen Center, I make a point to arrive in Central Square early so I can take a quick walk, camera in hand, to see what’s new in my old neighborhood.

Be curious!

Taking a quick stroll around the Square helps clear my head before I meditate…and it’s one way I heed Cambridge’s official command that I “Be curious!” What better way, I think, to put the Buddha’s mantra of “What is this?” into practice than by taking a quick spin around the block to see what’s changed since the last time I strolled the streets?

Central Square, like any urban neighborhood, is always full of surprises. I already knew from blog reports that a new crop of street art had sprouted like spring wildflowers along Modica Way since the last time I’d taken pictures there. Every time I walk around Central Square, I see something I hadn’t noticed before–something new, perhaps, or something I’d previously ignored. Even though I lived in Central Square for two and a half years more than a decade ago, the streets there still surprise me. Even if I were Kwan Seum Bosal with her thousand hands and eyes, I still wouldn’t be able to take it all in.

Easter egg

The surprises you encounter in urban neighborhoods like Central Square shouldn’t be surprises: in urban areas, nothing should surprise you. Are you surprised to find a cracked but otherwise whole Easter egg lying in the middle of a parking lot more than a month after the holiday? When you remember that the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Easter later than we Westerners do, and when you remember that there’s a Greek Orthodox Church in Central Square, a late April Easter egg makes sense.

When I was a child, I always loved looking for Easter eggs because it gave me once-a-year permission to snoop around looking for surprises. In retrospect, I guess keeping a photo-blog gives me a similar excuse to scour my surroundings for things that are interesting or odd.

Once you start looking for Easter eggs, you start finding them everywhere: it’s as if you hone your senses to notice All Things Egg. On Sunday, for instance, I wanted to snap a photo of the Goldenstash decal I’d previously seen on an electrical box at the heart of Central Square…

Goldenstash

…only to find the mustachioed man nearly everywhere I looked.

Goldenstash

The enigmatic character known as Goldenstash is something of a legend in the greater Boston area, appearing as street art on signs, electrical boxes, and walls.

Goldenstash rules!

Goldenstash’s street-mystique has garnered press attention and a slew of Flickr photos.

Goldenstash

Going ‘stash-spotting, I’ve learned, is a bit like looking for Easter eggs: you’ll find him in the usual spots you’d expect, and then you’ll find him in spots (and in poses, and with people) you’d never have expected.

Goldenstash with girl

But just like an Easter egg, you’ll never spot the ‘stash until you start looking, even if that means seeming a bit silly as you snoop around.

Goldenstash

A street artist’s Everyman, Goldenstash is the ultimate Easter egg. Simultaneously elusive and everywhere, ‘stash is a stealthy secret until you learn he’s ubiquitous, sticking around with the sole purpose of being spotted by someone, sometime.

After having snapped these shots in Cambridge on Sunday morning, later in the day I spotted Goldenstash on the back of a sign somewhere in Jamaica Plain while a friend drove down unfamiliar-to-me streets on our way to dinner. I wasn’t quick enough with my camera, unfortunately, to achieve a drive-by ‘stash-shot, so you’ll have to believe me when I say the mustachioed one is everywhere.