Philadephia by Morning

I left in the middle of the night to arrive in the middle of the morning in Philadelphia, a city I have never been to before. I half slept on the plane. I’m certain my snoring on the plan sounded as though I was desperately trying to breath through a thin swizzle stick stuck in a tub of jello.

I’m certain no one slept near my fitful, fetal position, within a five-foot radius. When I arrived at the airport, I felt like a piece of chewed gum.

I wandered the airport until I found a train that would take me toward my destination for the day, The Philadelphia Art Museum where I planned to find refuge in their cafe and division in their collection of modern and contemporary art. Riding in the train I passed through the vacant areas of at the edge of the city. The train passed through a swamp filled with tangled trees where some agency had secured hundreds of birdhouses.

Along the chain link fences edging the back of the USPS parking lots the wind had blown colorful trash, bright red and purple garbage bags. Much of the trash was anchored by discarded car tires.

Finally, I got out of the train at the 30th Street station. I was still groggy and somewhere in my transit from the baggage claim area to the interior of the train station, I lost my iPod. These small devices have often slipped from my pocket, and usually I find them lodged there. I lost my iPod once in a gap in my seat. I might wait to get a new one when they have a version I can just have implanted.

After coming to terms with this loss on the cold, wind swept streets of Philadelphia, I walked to the museum, which wasn’t far, but in the cold, and lugging my bags it seemed like a great distance. Part of this is that as an East Coast city there are vast distances between buildings. In the west, the city might be large, but everything is efficiently compressed together into a grid. Here, there was a vast parkway filled with forests and streams and swamps and gigantic Calder sculptures. There was also the vaguely neoclassical style with North American touches. Near the Museum was a gigantic sculpture of George Washington on a horse surrounded by various animals: beaver, mouse, and bear. It was both hilarious and to me seemed to clearly connect the national spirit to the Roman Empire. American’s are good at engineering but our engineering feats are things like highway overpasses just as the Roman’s accomplishments were aqueducts and sports arenas.

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