Not much was shaking. Pretty peaceful and quiet.
Many colorful tents, complete with rain flies, but all zipped and closed. Very few people up and about; a bit of trash here and there, but not much.
This tent city appeared to be unoccupied or at least temporarily deserted. Perhaps everybody had gone to work (We all have to survive . . . somehow.)
The most notable presence, smiling gently and holding court in the plaza, was a bust of Frank H. Ogawa, the man for whom the plaza was named. Ogawa was a lover of cities and gardens, a long-time city council member, active in the community and instrumental in the planning of Oakland's city center. He was also a man who had spent time in the West Coast detention camps during World War II. As a man of peace, a man who cherished the growing earth, it is entirely fitting that he welcome the protesters and listen, I suppose, as the mutterings of the surrounding community back into the quieter murmurs of the protesters.
This morning, community muttering has risen above the level of grumble. The word on the street is that soon this tent city will be dismantled. Too many rats, too many drugs, too much drink.
It was only 9:30 a.m. when I stopped by. No sign of rats, but I did see several men emptying the last of a whiskey bottle down their throats and another sleeping sitting up, head down, arms folded, on a park bench. (No room in the tents for him, I guess.)
The rats, they say, are not really the fault of the encampment; they're always around, but ordinarily it's just a tad easier to keep them under control. I suppose the same might be said for those sitting around the periphery, busily drinking anything alcoholic that comes their way. They, too, are always there and perhaps also more easily controlled on other days, in other ways. So why remove the tents?
Okay, they say, so it's not the rats, not the drinking, but the fist fights. But who's fighting? Don't know. It's always peaceful when I stop by. Someone fell from a tree, they say, and there was a problem with a dog and spilled paint. Someone was carousing late at night. Don't these things happen . . . anyway?
Maybe the best that can be said is that this tent city is a microcosm of that great big wonderful city out there that we know and love. Maybe this tiny little City of Hope, temporarily set up in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, has just as much love and perhaps just as many problems. Maybe there are as many folks wandering helplessly and alone inside this plaza as wander outside. Maybe there are as many hungry, as many who have no home as there are those know they will eat and safely sleep. As many who sit in the shadow, struggle on the borders, as those who don't. And as many who care to dream and hope.
We don't need the Garden of Eden. We have Earth.