Two and a half years ago I described my elation as Gale and I walked over the Vine Street Expressway to join the first Women’s March. Little did I anticipate that we were walking by the apartment complex where Anne Mei and I now live. Little did I appreciate what all the closed streets and barricades meant for the people who live along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Now I will. The Made in America festival happens this Labor Day weekend. When I thought back to the Women’s March when we picked this place to live, I thought that any inconvenience of events like that would be a light burden given the cause. As I look out my window today to see the huge stage going up at the foot of Art Museum steps and all the chain link fences being installed along the roads around us, and I read about the 2018 fight that Mayor Kenney lost when he tried to move the festival from the Parkway and about the best and worst moments of the music at last year’s festival, I’m not inclined to be so generous about being trapped here this weekend.
Actually, staying here is my own choice. Anne Mei will be away. But I’ve finally finished re-reading Ziporyn’s book on the Chinese philosopher Guo Xiang. I want to work on my notes and see if I can get through Ziporyn’s convoluted style to understand Guo Xiang better. I’m also starting Ziporyn’s book on Tiantai Buddhism Emptiness and Omnipresence. I’ve been assured by one of the members of my first Princeton sangha that this book is more readable.
Whether the crowd noise and loud music interfere with my plans, remains to be seen. The festival will be an opportunity, however, for practicing equanimity and lovingkindness. Even more, I will work on humility in place of the high-minded holier-than-thou smugness that I am so quick to criticize in others. If it all just gets too loud, I’ll go downstairs and find a way to enjoy the kind of scene I usually avoid.