October 4, 2011

the animals have been blessed

There are advantages to living near the largest cathedral in the United States. For example, if you leave your windows open, you can throw away all of your clocks and still know what time it is, at least in fifteen minute intervals.
Your walk to school each morning will include a view of gargoyles, saints, giant carved doors, white peacocks and one very odd statue of, well, to be honest, I'm not sure, some kind of bird/crown/dragon thing.
It possible to accidentally wander into a performance by the New York Philharmonic, or find a troop of bagpipers outside your door preparing to march over to a special service.

And if you, say, find out at the last minute that the Blessing of the Animals is in a few days rather than months away (which just goes to show you what an expert I am on Saint's Days) and you didn't get tickets, you can get yourself up at the crack of dawn and go stand in line for some morning of passes. Or at least you can plan on getting up at the crack of dawn but sleep an extra hour because your husband turned off your alarm, but you'll still be near the front of the line, because even an hour late, it's a two minute walk, so you were still early.
Three hours of standing in line, one more waiting in the church (including a last minute dash back to the apartment for coffee and the dog after the ten thousandth plea of "please can we bring Nigella") and a two hour service that included dancers that popped unexpectedly out of the audience, a kite flown inside, drummers, a giant choir, cantors, and parade of animals that included a camel, several llamas, a tortoise, a monkey and a baby kangaroo that was so cute I wanted to jump out into the aisle and kiss it.
The kids were amazingly tolerant of the waiting (of course, they didn't have to do that initial, three hours in the cold part) the dog, other than the fact that she didn't understand that the seats were for humans only, was calm, even when the camel walked right past her nose, and Evelyn's "worm" got a red carnation in honor of St. Francis, and very pretty she looked too.

Not bad for the neighborhood church.