Since Joe had a to finish a big project for school, I had some free time to do some exploring around the Bay Area. I am staying on the East Bay Side so haven’t actually made it in to the city yet. As I drove around, I found myself on Alameda Island. It is very close to Oakland but seemed worlds away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. I happened upon The Robert W. Crown Memorial State Park so decided to check it out. It was very peaceful and a nice place for a quiet meditation. There was a very distant view of the San Francisco sky line visible over a marina along the water. My 1st glimpse at the big city!
Later I drove into Oakland to see what I could get in to. I literally came to a dead-end road, directly in front of Jack London Square. With no prior knowledge of this place, I parked and started walking. It had a very laid back vibe and it too, was on a marina so the square was waterfront. There where restaurants, businesses, shops, you could even rent kayaks. As I wandered about, I came across a beautifully colored tile wall. As I was taking pictures, a sweet lady hanging out nearby, began telling me about The Peace Wall. Her name was Rosalyn and she worked 2 hour hour shifts at the very same school where the children painted some of those tiles of hope. She was grateful for the few hours of work she actually had, never once complaining that she didn’t have more. She had such a great positive spirit about her and her gratitude was overwhelming.
A little later in the day, I met a gentleman sitting on a park bench with everything he owned safely tucked away inside his grocery cart. It was obvious from a distance, he had some mental illness. His name was George and he had the most soothing voice I had ever heard, much like James Earl Jones. He was gentle and kind. After we talked, I asked if I could take his picture, he asked me to wait a minute. I watched while he quickly picked up the 2 black socks which had fallen out of his cart. This man took pride in the little he did have and that, my friends, is a very special kind of human being.
At the end of a completely humbling day, finally seeing my son was that much better. Rosalyn and George may not realize it, but their attitudes and spirits had a huge impact on me. Sometimes you learn the most from the angels in disguise.
“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” -Jack London