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and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and
disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel
Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add
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February 3 , 2007
Martin Gets Ignored
Freezing rain scares off the politicians this year
There’s something symbolic about this picture I snapped of
Dr. Martin Luther King’s head in Lincoln Park on his birthday
this year. Perhaps he is weeping frozen tears for our nation. Perhaps
his tears freeze for the deliberate shredding of the Bill of Rights by our elected officials,
for this endless war that serves only to funnel money to those who
deserve riches the least, for the racism and class hatred that has
become so fashionable among this nation’s elites.
Then again, this is a hunk of metal out in the freezing rain. A
work of art depicting the great man, but still a hunk of metal. Every
year there is supposed to be a procession to this site followed by
a brief ceremony in the cold. But it was canceled this year.
Damn politicians afraid of a little freezing rain and ice. Okay,
it was pretty bad outside, but still. At least people could suffer
a little to show their reverence for the man and what he represents.
When I came out around Noon there was one guy holding a serious
piece of equipment photographing Martin. I’ve seen him around,
I think he works for a news organization. “That’s a great
shot,” he said, hoping I would get out of his way. I stepped
back. When he was done snapping pictures he scooted, and I was all
by myself with the freezing rain.
I looked down at Martin’s feet and did a double
take. Someone had left a single bouquet of flowers. But between his
feet was... a dead horse?
It was one of those mylar balloons in the shape of a horse, placed
very deliberately and carefully. Perhaps it was meant as disrespect,
but I think it was supposed to mean something emotional to somebody,
a kind of bizarre homage. Perhaps it was a companion to the bouquet
The flowers looked like they were from that shop on Lark Street,
wrapped in a sheath of clear plastic coated with ice. Inside the plastic
was an envelope that read, “Please Read!” I looked all
around me at the icy landscape and saw no one, not even a passing
car. It was up to me.
I pulled out the envelope and opened it. Immediately the pages were
spattered with rain, so I trotted back to my house double time and spread
it out on a flat surface. After snapping a photo, I went back outside and put
the envelope back where I found it. I present the contents of the
envelope below without comment. (Click on the picture to read.)
This nasty freezing rain had ended an unprecedented and disturbing
warm spell, apparent evidence of global warming. The kind of weather
we’d had that day was supposed to happen in November, followed
by cold and plenty of snow. M.L. King Day is supposed to be a serious
winter’s day in these parts. But a few days earlier I’d
been running around outside without a coat. That’s not right.
Bugs had appeared and grass was growing, the natural living things
thinking that spring had come. I’d heard a report that fish
in the Adirondacks were seen getting ready to spawn. A lady who lives
up in Argyle in Washington County told me that she had been bitten
by a mosquito.
And the flowering trees in Lincoln Park had started to bud. I sure
hope the ice and cold had come on time and the buds are not too far
gone to survive. I look forward
to seeing the park bloom in glory,
in April, not in the middle of winter.
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