Snapshots from the Urban Jungle

There’s a little shopping center, not far from my house, that has, for as long as I can recall, been living only echoes of its glory days.  I always think of it as “the giant shampoo bottle plaza,” because the signs bearing the names of the establishments are large cylinders with little cylinders at top and bottom, and to my eye, they resemble nothing so much as giant shampoo bottles, even though I’m not sure that I ever had a shampoo bottle that looked quite like that.

On Thursday, I’d dropped a book off at the closest library and was walking back to my house, when my eye was caught by a splash of color.

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I’ve been aware for some time of the idea of Yarn Bombing, a type of outsider art that’s also known as Yarn Graffiti.  Some of the creations are quite fabulous, and there’s a yarn dragon on one of the trees down by Drexel that I rather like, but most of my personal experiences with yarn bombing have left me thinking, Well, that’s sort of fun, but that tree didn’t really need a scarf. 

But I think this installation is my new favorite for personal sightings of yarn bombings; it just made me grin, and it really lights up that dingy little corner of nothing.

 

Last night I went to the all-Philadelphia Mennonite Pentecost Service, held at Philadelphia Praise Center in South Philly.  My mother has gone before, but I’ve always been unavailable, so I’d only heard stories of the music, the wide range of Mennonites and languages, and, of course, the potluck preceding the event.

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And, well!  I don’t think I’ve seen such a mix of people in such a relatively small space in a long time.  SALT and IVEP orientation might compete, but I think the overall mix of people at this event was more diverse, even if there weren’t quite as many ethnic backgrounds represented.

We said (or attempted to say) “May the grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you” in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Indonesian, Cambodian, French, and Mandarin, and had (I think) a native speaker leading for each language, with the possible exception of French.

Cambodian and Mandarin were particularly challenging, as we couldn't read along.

Cambodian and Mandarin were particularly challenging, as we couldn’t read along.

I had a great time.  I saw a number of people I know from Mennonite circles around the city, and met several others.  There was special music provided by different churches, ranging from gospel songs to praise songs to traditional hymns in other languages, and we had performances of five new songs that were written especially for this event.  And then, of course, the food was excellent.

 

And then I came home today to find a visitor on our porch.

Fledgling Starling

Fledgling Starling

I wondered at first if he (or she) had managed to get safely to the ground, but now wasn’t sure how to get up again, because it showed some trepidation but didn’t fly away, but when I came out again to sluice its hostess gifts off the porch, it had moved to the nearby fence, so I think it’ll be all right.

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