A Reliable Audience


The homeless are the audience on days when there aren’t many people on Hippie Hill watching the drums.  You can tell they’re homeless because they’re under blankets, trying to stay warm in their thin castoffs.  The rich picnickers around them, with blankets placed only underneath them, enjoy the brisk air in fancy down jackets and coats.  Their clothes are brightly colored compared to the others’ dingy survival gear.

Many of the homeless like to join in with the drums, although they have few implements with which to make a sound.  The white plastic buckets in which food comes to restaurants in bulk are something they can afford, discarded or sold for a dollar after they’re used.  Drums are the instrument of the poor, easy to make or find since time began.  These ancient tribal sounds are not patented or owned, don’t need electricity.

I’ve been impressed with the high vibration of many of the homeless I’ve met.  Why do I feel so close to God when I’m with them?  Their table is always open, no matter how little they have.  They don’t mind living outside because of the holy they find there.  Their conversation is not boring.  Many saints and mystics have thought it can be liberating to have nothing.

There’s a magic time at sunset when in every corner of the globe indigenous people have played drums.  The so-called civilized have made few such observances to nature with their drums, which have been used predominantly for war.  Here at the park of the Golden Gate the Peace Drums sing until the sun’s last rays have gone behind some tall trees.  The homeless under their blankets try to soak up anything left of the sun’s heat before they head back to their shady hovels in the woods nearby.

Going down the walkway past the Janice Tree a beautiful girl waves goodnight, a heavy-duty stroller fully loaded with things tied to it, a little dog and a kitten riding deep inside on a special bed she made, out of the cold wind.  I feel as if the larger world is moved by what happens right here, among the homeless and the drummers with their bandaged hands.