Sunday, March 04, 2007

A man with a candle in the rain

Friday evening was cold, wet and gusty. Still, he decided to make his way to the busy intersection of Capitol Highway and Sunset Boulevard to stake out his candle-holding, placard-waving place on the northwest corner next to the crosswalk signal.

Being there helped sustain the six-week-old Friday night peace vigils.

He was alone on the corner, but across Capitol were four others, and he could see his friend Joan catty corner from him with her battery-powered string of lights and her rainbow-striped peace banner.

The Hillsdale peace vigil was small on this nasty night, but its spirit was alive.

The weather cut through his raincoat. He really should have put on another layer of clothes. The wind whipped the rain around him, soaking his jeans. The little candle in the jar blew out three times, and the matches grew moist making it harder to spark a flame.

But the more miserable he became the more he thought of the true misery of war, the fear, the agony, the death, the destruction, the hatred.

The vigil’s small but palpable discomforts fed his resolve to oppose war—to “Wage Peace,” as his placard proclaimed,

A stranger bearing a bulky camera suddenly appeared next to him and asked whether he had another candle. The one he was holding had gone out, again. He thought the stranger, who introduced himself as Joe—Joe Cantrell—wanted to hold one himself, but it turned out he wanted to take a photo.

Joe is drawn to taking photos with a social message. He had been driving home in the busy, rain-splattered commute and spotted the soaked, slightly stooped figure cupping a glowing candle, balancing a placard at his feet, and somehow managing to keep an umbrella canted over his head.

Now Joe wondered whether the sodden man could light the candle again because he wanted to record what he had seen.

Here it is.

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