Saturday, August 14, 2010

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street ...

So here I am, a beautiful Saturday morning in the studio, with the sun shining and yes, the sounds of the city all around me ... thinking about how I grew up in the country (we called it The Sticks), and reflecting on how different I am from everyone else in my family, a couple of whom have *tried* the city but in the end decided to move back to The Sticks. About how much happier I am with the sound of the city around me. The birds - the seagulls, crows and whatever the heck that bird is that wakes me up about 6:30 am every day with the repetitive twee-whoo call.
How much I love the the sounds of people living ... children laughing (and even fighting), lawn mowers, and barbecue parties (oh, the tasty aromas! why wasn't I invited?). Then there's the sound of fireworks ... closer to home at Nat Bailey Stadium or the Symphony of Fire out over English Bay, both of which I can hear (they sound like distant popcorn) but neither of which I can see. I love my *quiet* Saturdays at home in the studio.

My neighbourhood is *in transition*, and even though I loved this neighbourhood *before* we moved here, we are a part of its gentrification. In our case, this meant tearing down a near-collapsing old house and replacing it with a new one. To be fair, we originally thought we could resuscitate, but one look at the foundation, and the plumbing, and the wiring, and oh my, that idea went out the window pretty quick. Anyway, the thing is ... in the summer when there is no rain, there is always something under construction within earshot ... a new roof going on, a fence being repaired, and yes, I admit, even more old houses being replaced by new ones.

So this morning, in the middle of my thinking all these things ... I slowly became aware of a rhythmic pounding (not unusual, as I say) ... and then realized the rhythm had a ... tune? ... and the tune was ... wait a minute ... ah yes, there it is: You Are My Sunshine! Sounding like it was being played by a hundred sets of silverware hitting a hundred chandeliers. Well, that's odd, I thought, and I went to see where the noise was coming from, and it was coming from: my street.

I ran down the stairs (foolishly forgetting my camera!) and went out to see what was going on ... and it was a Parade! Stretching as far as I could see in either direction ... marching bands! people in costume! flowers! colour! children and old people and dogs, oh my! I hustled upstairs quicklike and fetched the camera ... who was going to believe me without photographic evidence? I should point out that we don't live on any kind of major street so parades are not the usual thing at all. One of the people passing handed me a flier saying it was the First Ever Filipino Cultural Street Parade, and it was really, really amazing. Brought a tear to my eye to see everyone out there smiling, waving, dancing, singing ... BEING. Made me wish that I had an ethnic community to march and celebrate with (does an artistic community count?).

All my neighbours were out on the sidewalk, too. People who are familiar, that I wave to in passing, but don't really *know* at all ... and I was suddenly reminded that this new neighbourhood I live in is multi-multi-ethnic, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. 'Cuz amazing things can happen ... like a parade when you least expect it.


Misti Ko said...

What an amazing experience. I love unexpected surprises like that, when you find yourself in the middle of something amazing (and good). I love living in the city too - well, this city to be exact. I felt like I was home as soon as I got here.

Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

Loin cloths ahoy!! Man, what a HOT HOT day for a parade!

I'd like to know how YOU get a parade on your doorstep and I only merit random, drunk half-naked men? It seems grossly unfair, if you ask me!

That's one of the things I love about Canada-you can come here from all over the world and bring everything that is wonderful about your culture, share it with us and we will embrace it too! We are a tapestry!

Vive le Canadienne!