Armed with gloves and various garden tools, four of us headed to the peace symbol on the northwest hilltop of Cesar Chavez Park on Thursday afternoon to pull the weeds that were growing in and around the artwork. We were Sheila Jordan of Berkeley, Johanna Brenner of Portland OR, Samira Haj of New York City, and I. At the symbol we unexpectedly met Diane Bush, Peter Scholz, and Kaori Ochiai, who were sitting solemnly on the memorial bench for young Asa Scholz, directly behind the artwork. Diane and Peter are Asa’s parents, and Kaori was his girlfriend.
The symbol was looking ragged. Bristly Oxtongue and other plants unwanted in this particular spot had punched up through the chip cover and seized a spot in the sun. With Sheila, Johanna and Samira setting the example, our new friends Diane, Peter, and Kaori soon joined in the work and weeds started flying in all directions. We left a few California poppies near the rocks for accent. It took just a bit over half an hour of energetic work to make the face of the symbol look almost pristine again. Then we posed for a group shot behind our handiwork.
The weeds will of course grow back. But there will be more Peace Keepers to take care of the symbol, so important in this time.