This Moment: Utah Arts Festival 23 June 2012

A man dressed in layers of orange, red, brown and white is shaking his sheepskin and rhinestone bedazzled staff, uttering something unintelligible that sounds like chickamagwa, which reminds me of the name of a Civil War battlesite. I ask him if it is a blessing or a curse. A blessing. We smile and he begins shaking his staff and shouting his mantra. The morning began with a blessing with Father Justin waiting in line at the Salt Lake Roasting Company. He was dressed in black orthodox robes and cap. I inserted myself into his silence by asking if he was an Orthodox priest and the nature and location of his order. He was gracious and friendly in his reply and grateful that I had not mistaken him for a Gothic. I have escaped the insufferable heat and am seated inside the library on a seafoam leather chair watching the throngs of festival goers walk past, stepping into booths to browse. My sprained ankle is swollen and I have my leg propped up over my knee for a momentary respite. I am a little surprised that every man seated around me is seated in similar fashion. A man is speaking loudly on his cell phone about getting a coffee. I hear children's voices, but do not see them. The man is now speaking Spanish, repeating the word quero loudly. He is laughing. Now whistling. A woman with all of her dark hair gathered onto the top of her head has stopped in front of me, finger to her chin as if she is considering asking for directions or trying to remember if she locked the front door. She swings her arm down and walks forward quickly. A man to my left is on his phone, hunched down in his tangerine-colored chair, apologizing and asking a woman for her forgiveness. A teenager is counting change in his pockets. A slight breeze has picked up and is tossing the flags and ribbons that crown the artist booths. A woman with NFL broad shoulders is popping her gum. She sets the newspaper down periodically to jiggle the baby stroller. A beleagured policeman is making his rounds in measured strides. I wonder if he counts his steps, and if does, how many steps has he taken today. The bullets on his belt are housed in dark leather and looks like small welts. I would never wish to have a gun strapped to my body, its intolerable weight resting on my hipbone.

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