Fifteen years ago this day Derek Youngs and I visited Hiroshima, on August 6th 2005, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. We sat in the morning sun, amidst a sea of other attendees, listening to the dignitaries, the children’s choir, the survivors, and the cicadas. A A small gold paper peace crane sat in Derek’s lap. A large insect, like a grasshopper or mantis, landed on his knee, right next to the gold bird and stayed there for many minutes, seeming to examine the origami bird with great curiosity, from all angles. It was hot that day, over 40 degrees and high humidity, and we were drenched in sweat. I did not let myself succumb to the discomfort, as all I could think about was the fire that raged that day 60 years earlier, the flames even sweeping down the river. I realized that beneath our feet in the Peace Park (the epicentre of the nuclear bomb blast) probably lay the remains of thousands of people. It was hard to fathom. How could we have let that happen? How did we let fear and hate take us so far?
Derek’s many miles and years of walking didn’t put an end to war—the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki just passed and nuclear weapons still exist. Derek’s wish was heartfelt, and perhaps naïve, but I know that every step he took was not in vain. I believe the human race does care about the survivial of our species, and all the survival of all other living things on Earth. And I believe that if we keep walking, one step at a time; keep making peace cranes, one fold at a time; keep tending our gardens, one leaf at a time; and keep working through our differences, one word or one small gesture at a time; we will triumph. Love conquers all.
I walked in the peace labyrinth today, thinking of love and light, remembering Hiroshima, Derek, and the grasshopper.