So we’re carrying four steaming hot biodegradable plates full of barbecued tofu chicken, oraganic mashed squash and other Earth-friendly foods at the Green Festival in Washington, DC on Saturday, looking for a table to plop ourselves down at, and we finally find one where four kids are sitting with books and notebooks out looking like they’re doing some studying. Turns out that’s exactly what they’re doing; their mom is working in a pulpy natural juice booth and they’re homeschooled…four of nine kids…and before long my kids are yukking it up with them, comparing Peace buttons and the definitions of what it means to be vegan. (Turns out very few people actually could be a vegan with the definition the six of them came up with.) I can’t help myself, of course, and at one point ask the homeschooled group if they’d ever heard of Wikipedia? Nope. A blog? Nope. “We have blogs,” my kids chime in and the others push their chairs back just a bit, a quick look of concern on their faces. “No, no…don’t worry,” I say. “It’s a Website, not a disease.” They all giggle, and my son starts talking about his alien invasion stories. “Hey, I write poetry,” one of the kids says. “Could I have a blog?” “Sure,” my kids say and they proceed to run through the process of going to Blogger and clicking on the Post button, and my wife rolls her eyes as I sit back feeling immense pride. Maybe I’m not doing such a horrible job after all, I think…briefly. Before you know it, blog addresses and e-mails are exchanged and everyone promises to comment and communicate as my wife comes back saying that their mom had said it was ok for them to come with us to family yoga hour. Pretty soon we’re doing downward facing dog, mountain and tree poses, feeling our bodies sink into the floor, listening to soothing bells and getting our feet rubbed. About as surreal a few hours as you can get…
…until the next morning when we walk down New York Ave. to Lafayette Park, a large band of bagpipers filling the air with a mix of dance and dirge as I turn and notice the silhouettes of two case-toting figures walking across the roof of the White House. “Sharpshooters” someone next to us whispers, taking their positions as two others walk the opposite way, and my kids and I watch transfixed by this makeshift changing of the guard. I’ve got some explaining to do, I know, take a deep breath, and tell my kids about the realities of the world, that, unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the gray-bearded men who have spent the last 25 years of their lives camped out in the park decrying the spread of nuclear weapons, this world is a very, very complex, difficult place where great joy and great pain live side by side. And that the only way we can make it better is to not turn away.
Heather Ross says
I always read your blog and soak up every bit about blogs, wikis, etc. This post, however, just blew me away. Perhaps what you witnessed between your children and their new friends is a sign of a future with hope.
I wish I’d been there – vegis, yoga and blogging – these are a few of my favorite things.
Mary Catton says
What a great story. I love the way kids connect!