Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Underground in Plain Sight

Flag at Menemsha, 2010

Okay, someone’s going to have to clue me in.

It’s funny how when you’re in the picture-taking mode you think you’re noticing things when in fact you’re missing all kinds of things.

While looking through all the pictures I took recently at Martha’s Vineyard, I was interested to discover in some of the pictures of what I call “quieter moments”—pictures that are typically close-ups of things—a surprising number of little American flags.

American flags are a proud and common element in American public life. Flags adorn homes, buildings, boats, public spaces and all kinds of other places. I’ve taken lots of pictures of these flags, and Martha’s Vineyard is full of them.

But these were little flags; cheap plastic flags most of them. And most were stick haphazardly in places where you don’t usually see flags, especially little plastic flags that a lot of people wouldn’t even notice at first.

The one shown above was stuck in a picnic table at Menemsha, a place so windy this time of year that I can’t imagine that the flag was left over from, say, July 4th or Labor Day celebrations.

The one shown below was stuck in the frame of a window of a 2nd floor law office on Main Street in Edgartown.

There were others, all located in unusual places; taped horizontally above a store entrance, glued to a One-Way sign located in front of a restaurant, stuck diagonally in a cedar shake in front of a real estate firm.

Are these flags some kind of Americana mezuzahs? Is there some kind of patriotic illuminati out there, an underground railroad of travelers who know they can find kindred souls under these discreetly placed flags?

Maybe I've just been watching too much Rubicon?

2nd Floor Window, Edgartown, 2010


  1. Hahaaaa! I love that show, "Rubicon!" These flag images are great. I had to smile, because on my travels this week through Maine, I've seen TONS of flags everywhere, and I was questioning to myself--aren't they supposed to come down when it's raining out? People seem to be ignoring that if so...

    I always like seeing flags out, I have to admit. A flickr friend from England always says he likes seeing our flags--he said they never fly 'em over there, and I'm glad we do.

  2. Plastic flags started popping up all over the place here last spring. It turned out a man was walking cross country to raise money for homeless vets and he was leaving them.