I, of course, have no answers. I know only how lovely it was to walk yesterday afternoon as the storm pushed south over the open waters of the bay, leaving the park at Lake Merritt flooded and oh-so-green beneath clearing skies. Little Earnest and I walked on sandy trails, raging torrents only moments before, now sculpted smooth. Ours were the first footprints, mine flat and evenly paced, his sharp-toed and dancing from side to side. I felt like an explorer, and with his zigs and zags, it certainly looked as if Earnest felt as if he too were prancing over new territory, looking for what had been richly redolent only yesterday, nosing about under masses of oak leaves jammed into sodden piles, poking into tangles of pine needles. Now that all familiar smells have gone away, washed in rivers down to the bay, he adds his own.
Tomorrow, I know crowds will return, perhaps with eyes darting this way and that, women clutching bags as they walk, men with one hand thrust in a pocket, the other flat against the chest. Today, I'm standing in beauty, thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr., hearing his voice, echoing across the lake of me.
Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now.
Unlike King, I can't declare with conviction that I will go forward from this day on to do "God's will." I'm an atheist. Any promised land I have seen is this one, here and now, the rain, the puddles, the silence, the music of the wind. I know when I die, I'm not going to any promised land. My eyes will close, my heart will stop, my breath will cease, and that will be it. The only chance I have to make any kind of difference is here and now in this paradise on Earth. I don't know think "He" led me up the mountain, and I don't think "He" will save the world now or in the future.
I used my own two two feet to tromp with my little dog up to the Kings' proverbial mountaintop. I stand there for a moment, gaze out on the vast beautiful sky sky, look over the edge, and what I see when I look down at my world where I live, I can't accept. Too many guns. Too much greed. Too many wars. I know I can't leave solution up to some all-seeing heavenly eye. I know I can't fix it alone, and I also know the only god I understand is the vibrating space between all living things, the connecting breath. Any solution requires working together with kindness to fill that space with love instead of gumming it up with greed and war.
Earnest and I walk alone today on these paths, and, yes, tomorrow more people, more dogs, will walk beneath the trees. Perhaps, they will greet one another with a smile of a wave. Perhaps when the grass dries, some will spread out their mats, sit in company and laugh. This is our world. We create it. We can make it beautiful with our smiles. If we hope, we can dream. If we dream, we can create peace.