Vignettes of summer

Everywhere around there are delightful, unusual and a few sad-making things to see, if only you look. A man is standing under a tree with a Longo’s bag of breadcrumbs. Pigeons feed from both of his outstretched hands and on the ground around. A pigeon rests on each of his shoulders, another perches on his hat. He seems becalmed. He could be in Piazza San Marco in Venice.

In front of a stone building the flowers of August abound. The hosta and hollyhocks are pretty much over but remaining in full bloom are rudbeckia, begonia and anemone. A woman in a pink jump suit zips by on a pink Vespa-like scooter. In the handlebar carrier is a dog. Another dog lies at her feet. A third one is housed in a latticed carrier on the back of the bike. If there are dog walkers, I guess there can be dog riders, too.

The Big Smoke Big Band entertains on a street corner with drums, horns and saxophones. Their plastic pail fills quickly with coins and bills, they are that good. Thirty people sit doing nothing on a pleasant, shaded lawn. They appear to be movie production types, endlessly waiting for some director to get creative and set the camera rolling. Your tax dollars at work.

A panhandler squats listening to music on earbuds, singing along tunelessly. Does he need the money for more batteries? His sign says he’s prepared to give verbal abuse if requested. Maybe he’s received some. Another panhandler has three hand-lettered cardboard signs all referring to his special status as a vet. One of the signs gives the name of his regiment for those who might disbelieve. Saddest of all is the young woman whose sign reads: “Homeless, hungry and pregnant. Anything helps.”

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