The Ballet of the Umbrellas and the Dance of the Red Scarf in St. Petersburg

Rain in Saint Petersburg teaches you the art of the nimble umbrella on a crowded street on the way to the great Hermitage. Each city seems to have its own special way of walking its streets. Do you go high, go sideways , go low with your own umbrella as a stream of umbrellas comes toward you like a regiment of Peter the Great’s cavalry…at this marshy place where he said “Build a fortress!”….on a rainy day in 1703….. Water pools and puddles in the streets offering a flicker of insight into the grand vision of the great floods that come here in this world of facades, fabulous art, and umbrellas….but you need to know the protocol of the ballet of the umbrellas even when you are high- stepping it to Pushkin’s “Fountain of B” at the Mariinsky…I wore the red scarf which Laura, sister of my friend, David Craven, had given me after his sudden death two years ago….it protected me from the cold better than the Old Coat of Gogol….I hope that David would have been pleased that my red umbrella kept it very dry and warm….but I missed him and wished that he could have been there dancing with umbrellas in this beautiful rainy city.

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