Sunday, August 16, 2009

signs of life

Between my apartment door and my plot in the p-patch--about a block's worth of walk--is the gazebo of the Cascade People's Center. During the day, the benches are empty, and underneath them are plastic grocery bags of stuff, a sleeping bag here, a piece of cardboard there. As soon as dusk approaches, the people who belong to those things return one by one and prepare to stretch out for the night. This is where they live, but they know to be scarce during the light.

The rats, more plentiful, aren't bound by the fear of being ushered away, and they are brazen even in the bright sunshine.

Across from the gazebo is a small grove of flowering trees, under which is ground cover with small, glossy leaves (cool in the heat of the day) and a few rocks and concrete sculptures with mosaic. During our hot spell a couple of weeks ago, the people who are normally gone by day stayed. They didn't sit in the gazebo, but they sat in the cool ground cover under the trees.

Today I walked past that spot and this is what I saw. A Ben and Jerry's container, filled with dried up roses, blueberries, and other flora. Left behind.

I wonder if it was a shrine. Or a memorial.

Or the kind of sign of civilization that causes people to adorn their dinner tables with vases of flowers.

I hope there was once ice cream in that container, and that the people who ate it had good company and together took some comfort from that cold deliciousness.

I thought about picking it up and throwing it away, but on second thought, I determined that it was not trash.

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