|All around us, messes like this; look closely |
to see the Irish flag flying over City Hall doors
© L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved
Weary, drugged and sick homeless, who normally would be huddled in soggy sleeping bags after a rainy night, are mostly gone, displaced by red, white, blue--and a few green--canopies under which sleepy-eyed hawkers busily lay out their wares and goodies.
White sweet potato pie, crab garlic fries, and Verizon phones, vie for our attention. I'm heartened to see the greenest, most Irish looking booth on the plaza is owned by Zip Cars--selling a greener lifestyle on the greenest day of the year.
No busloads of tourists offload this morning, no gaggles of gawkers taking pictures of each other in front of San Francisco's storied dome.
We smile, though, when a happy family of five pauses to take pictures of one another posing artfully next to an adjacent tree. Their laughter lightens our hearts, makes us smile. Sharon says out loud, "All it takes is one happy person to change the mood." I think, yes, I want to remember that next time I'm in a difficult situation.
|Green-Haired Tuba Player passes |
by as we leave the plaza
© L Kathryn Grace
All rights reserved
This festive, temporary tent city surrounding us represents tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products made overseas by sweatshop workers, and a considerable quantity of greasy, GMO-laced food.
Thousands of people will wander through today, many celebrating our mutual Irish heritage. Others here to sample the food and wares, listen to the speeches and live music, and ogle the costumes and characters.
In one of my silent interludes, I pray for peace in the plaza, that all who come here will be blessed and energized by the camaraderie.
In another, I imagine what it would be like to come here by the thousands once a year, not to celebrate our heritage, but to celebrate peace. What booths would we erect? What wares would we hawk? Where would they have been made, and by whom? Would the foods we offered be healthy, locally grown with care for the soil, air and water on which we all depend, and just as delightful to our taste buds as the offerings here today?
How would we celebrate the peace we are making in our lives and our world? What speeches would our dignitaries make? What songs might we sing? Would we dance? Would we laugh? Would we meditate together, a throng of thousands, in silence for a time?
It takes just a little shift to move from a celebration plied with near-slave-made doo-dads and clothing, and food that, studies increasingly show, poisons our bodies, to an event filled with products manufactured by companies who care about the well-being of their employees, and filled with nourishing, whole food grown and harvested sustainably, prepared by people who love the art of cooking and feeding as much as they love profit.
Despite the clamor and bang around us, despite our inability to stay focused on our meditation practice this morning, I feel peace in my heart, gratitude for the individuals working so hard to make today's celebration safe, fun and happy for the people of our town.
May you feel so blessed wherever and with whomever you may be.
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.