Everyone I meet smiles. A middle-aged black man greets me, passes, and then looking back over his shoulder, tips his head to one side, waves his hand at the house transforming across the street, begins to speak but stops.
Forgive me, he says. I am confused this morning.
Oh, it is a good day, I say. Yes, it is.
His Yes, it is echoes mine but it is his smile that lands on the sidewalk, near the telephone pole spiky with staples and a new flyer advertising the August Wilson play to be performed this weekend and next in the backyard of the Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement. Two people with a tiny dog stop to chat, and a man with a Chihuahua in his arms happily sets his dog on the sidewalk so that he and Earnest can play for a bit. How light the air feels -- as if all negativity just blew clean away overnight. I am waiting for stars to fall or butterflies to rise in great clouds. The joy in the air is palpable, but I have no idea from where it drifts, but I don’t care about where. It is here.
Maybe all the renovation going on is making folks hopeful. The large Victorian next to the Community Center now sits on a brand new foundation, and seeing it with its new strong footing and its surrounding buildings (three) undergoing equally complete renovations is thrilling. Something exciting and exceedingly hopeful is happening here. Perhaps soon, it will provide gracious homes for for five or even six families with a spacious yard for gardens. Or perhaps it will become a school or an arts center or a medical clinic . . . maybe the yard will not be just a parking lot, but will be home to rose bushes and fruit trees, beds for vegetables.
It's hopeful . . . And the whimsical little house down the block looks cheerful with its new foundation and brand-new cedar shingles . . .
The play itself warmed me. I was so happy to be sitting under foggy skies, watching these accomplished actors perform August Wilson’s last play, both powerful and tender, calling out to all who see it to discard any need to place blame on others for past or present actions but to instead to look to the self, to descend to the ‘city of bones’ and find there compassion for those who have gone before, compassion that can be used to direct one’s footsteps in this world.
Hang on to the boat, pay your passage to the city of bones, and remember all you see there. The head bones, the leg bones, the fingers that beckon, and those who wander with tongues of fire.