Procession of the Species

This blog has been quiet for the past two weeks, but please don’t hold it against me. You see, it’s been spring in Bellingham, a real, actual, warm and sunny spring, and every minute not at work has been spent out in my garden or on my bike.

I did briefly leave my little garden oasis yesterday to observe Bellingham’s Procession of the Species. The Procession of the Species began in Olympia, WA, 1995 to support congressional renewal of the Endangered Species Act. But beyond that, it’s an incredible community art project. People come together months before the procession to build elaborate animal costumes out of duct tape, paper maché, and garbage bags, which are transformed into turkeys, owls, badgers, bees, and jellyfish.

It’s 100% play. No written (or spoken) words are allowed, so it has not become a vehicle for political rhetoric, aside from its historical purpose. My friend Beth writes a cool blog about adults at play; about how we need play to be fully healthy and fully human. Outside of organized sports (which, honestly, get so serious that they can hardly be considered play), we’re not often good at engaging in play and whimsy.

So it was fun to see my city come out of the woods—the damp, dark, mossy, Bellingham-winter woods—and emerge into a warm sunny spring day of carnival (in the medieval literary sense of the word).  I wish there were more opportunities to don a 10-foot-tall owl costume and stroll down the street.


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