Zocalo crews hung a lot of street flower baskets and placed a lot of street barrels this week. Here’s one reflection on the process…
Hanging street baskets is not for the faint of heart. Yes, they’re heavy and awkward, but that’s not really the challenge. Yes, you have to share space on the road with busses, delivery drivers and busy drivers, while looking at a chicken-scratch-covered street pole map trying to determine if this is the designated location, but that’s not really the most notable thing either. One of the most interesting things is the short bursts of conversations, or perhaps I should say commentary, at each pole and corner.
- -“Hey, don’t worry if you fall, I’ll catch you!”
- -“Nice flowers. Will they need water?”
- -“I hope your boss is giving you a bonus for lifting those.”
- -“Where did those big pretty flowers come from?”
- -“Are they going to have flowers on them all year?”
- -“Wow, that’s how you got those big muscles hauling those around.”
- -“Hey, I’ll give you my address if you bring me one.”
- -Hands clap, elderly folks squeal with delight, kids point, teens try to climb your ladder, street folks wonder if you have a cigarette to share, but mostly people just smile and say, “hey, thanks!”.
It truly is amusing and amazing. In the gnarly bits and cacophony of all that noise, my optimistic interpretation, from my perch on the ladder, is that the flowers are doing their job. If flowers stop you, just a little, in your tracks, they’ve succeeded. Flowers should change your view a tiny bit. Altering perceptions means they’ve made it: the world just became a little more notable, a little brighter.
You drive by. You walk by. Your cycle past. You sit on the bench. The brightening of the journey, if but a little, is our hope. Congratulations to 124 St, Old Strathcona, Chinatown, Norwood, Alberta Avenue, Boyle Street and Little Italy. Your journey is, hopefully, a little more colourful.