Today, I stayed home from work to glue myself to the TV and watch, raptly, our democracy go through its quadrennial renewal, the peaceful periodic handover that has endured for the last two centuries. It is a wonderful thing. First, the solemnity of the ceremony, in the open, witnessed by cheering multitudes. Then the progress toward the White House and reviewing stand. Along the way, I am struck anew by the beauty of our nation's capital. Then the inaugural parade, a glorious jumble of brass bands, floats, and groups from every corner of the land.
I have to admit to some momentary frustration with the news announcers, breaking in, overshadowing, congratulating themselves on their technical trickery, looking for interest in bars and in crowds and in metro stations, in on-the-street interviews and in studio experts, pushing to the background the proud procession of our national celebration. The parade participants have traveled and waited eagerly, nervously, to represent their states in the nation's eye until, faces chapped from the cold, they have their chance to march by and salute our new President. They have donned their best; fine uniforms, fancy hats, sashes, plumes. They have practiced and polished their instruments and routines. Many have carefully chosen musical pieces symbolic of their states, some traditional, some waggish. Proud friends and relatives are no doubt watching the screen carefully for when they will pass by and be briefly visible back home, to clap and cheer. But in many cases, on the major TV channels, for naught.
Thankfully, I found the broadcast on C-Span, the public service cable channel, where the parade was shown unadulterated. Where there were no cutaways to spoil their big moments. Where I could revel in the whole untidy variety of high-school bands and flag twirlers, joyous dancing and high-stepping. Horseback riders, lion-dancers, mariachi music, Native Americans, bagpipes, and military units. I was touched when one marching band, in front of the reviewing stand, lowered their instruments and raised their voices in a patriotic hymn. And I was bemused by the Lawn Rangers, a unit of masked men pushing lawnmowers, who it seems, oddly, have been fixtures in past inaugural parades. I enjoyed it right up to the last moment, when a lunar vehicle representing NASA rolled down the parade route. Seriously, how could you beat that?
Closer to home, a day of TV-watching is of course wonderful for knitting. I've now finished all the main pieces for my tall-elegant- mom's Christmas I.O.U. sweater. The Kid Hollow brushed mohair yarn continues to be lovely stuff. I'm enjoying its soft halo more, as I've adjusted to working with the long fluff with neither entanglement nor over-carefulness. It now needs only finishing and a neckband, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes together.
Still, in the spirit of new beginnings, I couldn't resist starting the swatching for my dad's I.O.U. Christmas sweater as well.
Having them both going makes for a nice variety. :)