Friday, May 11, 2012

fly past

USC commencement 2012: this is only one of the 13,700 or so people present today.  And close on a hundred white doves, released at the moment the students were officially declared to have graduated.  Here they are, enlarged ...

I was, of course, worried about them: do all the hawks in Los Angeles send out alerts the day before commencement, telling each other that the annual feast is about to be released, and suggesting that they hang out in the trees until the right moment?  What happens to all the doves?

But I needn't have worried.  They aren't doves: they're pure white homing pigeons.  They're rented out for special events - a wedding, a funeral, the start of the Dodgers season, our commencement ceremonies (coming after Christiane Ananpour as the commencement speaker, who was excellent, too, and before all the satellite ceremonies with the roll call of names, and parading across the platform in impossible shoes, and wearing orchid leis - orchids, and occasionally interspersed with origami dollar bills - and Pomp and Circumstance).  And after swooping round a bit to test their wings, the doves fly away home to Riverside.  I don't know how long it takes to get there, but it's the sweetest way to let our graduates symbolically loose upon the world.

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