08 March 2013

straight on until yesterday

West to the sunset and straight on until yesterday.

Looking out from the 11th floor of this hotel—once the fanciest in St. Louis—it is not hard to think of yesterday.

Imagine here on the top floor ballroom, a society wedding in 1922. The smoke would be thick but that view west to the rest of Missouri and the rest of America would still be, besides the bride, the view of the day.

Or imagine the World's Fair in Forest Park, just across the street.

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis! Meet me at the Fair! How can you not think of Judy Garland singing about streetcars and heartstrings and merry little Christmases when you're in St. Louis?

When the Fair came to town, people who'd never been outside the middle of American could feel, not that they lived in the middle of nowhere, but that they lived in the middle of it all. The world had come to them, and they could stroll past it at their leisure.

No, it is not hard to think of yesterday up here, probably because the orange suffusing the view gives it all a nostalgic tint: That orange is the color equivalent of Judy Garland's voice.

Day is dying in the west; Heaven is touching earth with rest—but before it goes, there is one final blaze, as if to shout: remember me.

Then the shout fades to a whisper and we're all left staring at the memory of color and light.

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