We gathered under pregnant grey clouds lumbering slowly across the sky above us. We gathered, young and old, to remember, to commemorate, to be together.
The skies could not wait and rained down upon us.
The crowd stayed.
The event began and together, we held a conversation about peace. About nuclear disarmament, about what we as one people, one community can do together to create peace.
There was poetry and music. Drumming and flute and didgeridoo. Sheri-D Wilson performed a spoken word, Trevor Uruski and Ancient Echoes enchanged with their compelling music. Nobue Henmi, a young university student born and raised in Hisoshima shared her stories of visiting the A-bomb memorial as a child, the tears and fears of living under the dark cloud of what had happened before she was born.
Earth Beat performed 5 songs in 6 different languages. They were stunning. Japanese, Chinese, Iraeli and Arab singing together, in harmony. One voice. One people. One song.
Judy Atkinson and Circles of Rhythm drummed. Our hearts were stirred. Our minds opened.
It was the children who were the most disarming. In their simple and poignant offering of the story of Sadako, the young girl who in 1955 died of Leukemia, the A-bomb disease, she left a legacy of 1,000 origami swams as a reminder to all of us to never give up on peace. Never give up on believing we can find a way to disarm. Find away to live peacefully with one another.
We are one planet. One human race. One people.
The air I breathe is the air you breathe. The earth I walk, is the earth you walk.
When we walk in peace, we create peace around us.
When we arm ourselves to protect against one another, we are hurting ourselves and one another. We are actively engaged in defying peace, preventing it, stopping it.
There are so many ways to make peace.
It begins in each of our hearts.
It begins right where we stand.
It begins right where we are willing to let go of hatred, anger, discrimination…
It begins where we are.
What are you willing to do today to make peace in your heart? What are you willing to let go of? Hold onto? Change? Create?
A couple of years ago, I spent a year writing C.C. a love poem a day. Last night as I listened to poet/performer Sherri-D Wilson recite a poem she’d written about love and peace, I was reminded of the power writing a love poem a day had on my heart.
I decided, it is time.
Time to create peace.
Time to write a poem a day for a year about peace.
I begin. Where I am.
IT IS TIME
It is time.
Time to awaken, to rise up, speak up, step up
Time to open our hearts, shift our minds and let peace enter.
It is time to put down arms without fearing for our lives
Time to hold out our arms in love for every life on this planet we share
it is time to move away from discord and unease
it is time to move into harmony and joy
It is time for peace
peace in our hearts
peace in our minds
in our families and communities
in our cities and provinces
states and countries
it is time for peace in all our world
It is time.
Thank you Karen Huggins, Project Ploughshares Calgary, the 2020 Vision for Humanity Network, John Lavoie, Shinobu Apple, Sally Hodges and friends, Freshwater Creative, TSGI and all the many volunteers who helped make our gathering and remembering and building peace possible. And thank you Niki Baker whose vision several years ago gave space for the Floating Lantern Festival in Calgary.