Shadow and I join Bloomington’s Fourth of July parade

I certainly didn’t expect to have so much fun when I decided to walk with the local “Move to Amend” (the Supreme Court decision to see corporations as persons) folks in the 4th of July parade.

Just a few weeks ago, our campaign to get the City Council to adopt a resolution passed, 9-0. And now, we’re out in force, again. Here’s two views of one of our signs, with Don underneath!

And I’m afraid Shadow had no idea of what he’d be getting into . . .

For weeks now, we’ve joined the millions of folks in the eastern part of this nation who have sweltered in temps hovering around 100°. We’re the lucky ones. Our electricity is still on.

Perhaps that sense of being among the blessed, despite circumstances that in any other year would be considered horrific, accounts for the feeling present in the air today; accounts for the fact that we all actually showed up! Those who said they’d be in the parade,

and those who decided to come with water, hats and, some of them, chairs and umbrellas, and watch the parade, clapping and cheering for their favorite groups and floats.

That leafy street was the exception. Most of it went through downtown, on hot tarmac. But deeply appreciated. Like at the corner of 6th and College (note courthouse in background).

Last year, I had come to the parade with Emma, my little four-year-old cotton de tulear puppy. That event turned out to be Emma’s swan song. She was killed by a car the next day. (Many posts on my grieving process. Search July 2011 for them, if interested). So today’s walk with dear little Shadow was bittersweet.

Just as with Emma, wherever Shadow walked, little hands, and some big ones, reached out to touch him, caress him.

Just like Emma, he suffered their ministrations patiently.

But this parade was different. The heat, the heat. At first, he was fine.

But then, his panting grew more labored. I carried him part of the way. Several times I stopped to give him (and me) water. It wasn’t easy for us. It wasn’t easy for others in the parade, or for those watching. What made us do it on such a sweltering day? What makes us gather together, despite extremely difficult conditions? For that matter, what makes us reach out and touch puppies? What in us is so affected by such obvious innocence? Who are we really, we who pretend that war makes us safe,

That allows jingoism to infect the body politic . . .

It’s as if we live in two different worlds simultaneously. The one where our bodies reach out to touch other bodies, spontaneously, with affection and longing. And the other, where we hide behind hard steel shells and roll along, cushioned by technology, from the consequences of our own unconscious actions.

Meanwhile, the first world prevailed among our little Move to Amend group when an older woman reached out, furtively handed me a panty-liner that she carried in her purse, to somehow protect my foot from the blister that was already forming. Yeah, check out this photo again: my left foot, the white folded under the holes of the blue rubber . . . Thank you Elsa!

I’m not a native Bloomingtonian, nor have my ancestors been here for five generations,

but I do feel like I belong in this place with sweet, community-minded midwestern people who live under thousands upon thousands of drought-stricken trees. We all mustered the grace and grit to descend on the Independence Day parade route despite the knowledge that, really, we were in for what the complaining part of our personalities would call an ordeal. And, despite the heat, it was not an ordeal, but a blessing.

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1 Response to Shadow and I join Bloomington’s Fourth of July parade

  1. mike0v says:

    Nice clogs, Doc.

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