Wednesday, August 29, 2007

William on a Tower Top

Yesterday afternoon I returned to the City of Brotherly Love the first time in ten years. I drove through the familiar streets lined with typical Philadelphia rowhouses, old and often dilapidated. The churches here were numerous and looked imposing with their lofty timeworn Gothic steeples.

Broad Street, Temple University, old buildings, rundown storefronts, people with faces of all colors, and there appeared the city center with its shiny skyscrapers. Still, instantly recognizable was the City Hall with its tower and the statue of William Penn perched on top.

Walking around the historic city center I always feel the constant presence of William from that tower top, which is only fair considering that he was the one who founded the city. To me, that presence is a permanent fixture of the most beautiful part of Philadelphia, one that was there when we left and is still there when we come back.

Twelve years ago I had walked under the shadow of William, penniless and lonely, yet full of excitement and expectation. Now I came to see William in a new car, my wallet bulged with cash and bank cards, still lonely, but the excitement and expectation were gone, how and where I don't know. I don't even know whether I am better or worse off.

No comments:

Post a Comment