I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Monday, July 04, 2005
I love a parade
We took Julian to his first parade this morning. I suppose it was more for me than him, but he seemed to enjoy sitting on my lap and watching fire engines and marching bands (and not a few local politicians) go by. Something about parades always excites me.
Philadelphia, at least back when I lived there, was the parade capital. In addition to the justly famous Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day (an anthropological study in itself), it seemed like whenever we went downtown there was a parade down Broad Street. And of course there is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York—of course the best part of that is watching the balloons get blown up the night before north of the Museum of Natural History.
I actually got to be in a 4th of July parade in Oregon years ago the summer I was working for the Forest Service. I was Smokey Bear, and I have never been more popular in my life—all the kids wanted to hug me and talk to me. Around there, lots of jobs were dependent on logging, and since Smokey helps prevent forest fires, he is a pretty big deal. Of course, the same summer, the Forest Service wouldn’t allow Woodsy Owl out in public. Spotted owls were being declared endangered (thus limiting how much logging could be done, and thus cutting down on jobs), and Woodsy, happy symbol of non-pollution, had received death threats.