There are chalk drawings on the pavement where the drum circle is, big ones in rainbow-colored chalks. There is a peace sign about five feet wide, a heart, and various words written in big letters like “LOVE” and “PEACE.” As the drums play, people dance around the drawings and on top of them, as if to emphasize their meaning. Some of the drawings are made by children, others by accomplished artists.
It turns out that a friend of mine, a beautiful woman who is a healer, is responsible for a lot of this artwork. For many years she’s been coming here and refreshing the pictures, and adding new ones. I ran into her at the circle, a big piece of yellow chalk in her hand. The blonde curls around her head caught the sun like a halo. Her clothes were soft turquoise and blue, her face showing her usual wisdom with a touch of humor.
Her name, Mayah, means “close to God.” An online personality profile said that people with that name tend to want to work with others to achieve peace and harmony. She had just added a word to the display. The word was, “ACCOUNTABILITY,” in letters a foot high outlined in chalk in rainbow colors. Bending over in her beautiful flowing turquoise garb she added a finishing touch, a bold outline in fluorescent cobalt blue.
One day I arrived and was shocked to find that the drawings were completely gone without a trace. I was told that rain and fog had washed them away. There was one giant chalk drawing of a peace sign which an urban legend said had been there since the Summer of Love. I walked over to it and sure enough it was still there, a little faded but clearly visible.
There are many kinds of holy places, some with stained glass windows and stone walls. The church I go to has no walls, doesn’t keep people out or make them stay in. Instead of statues and altars and great paintings, it has chalk drawings on the sidewalk that say “Love” and “Peace” and “Cooperation.” Instead of a roof it has the sky, and the forest is its decoration. Our communion happens when strangers share a bottle of wine on a park bench. Without using separate glasses. There’s no cost of admission, no tithe. The only dogma is respect, because, according to Jesus, we are all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the Most High.