General Assembly–Arcata Plaza, Oct 12th
A seagull careens overhead and trills its high pitched cry as it makes an acrobatic dive for some crumb left on the plaza. My eyes follow the dive though I continue to be present with the circle. I am unaccustomed to such a glorious day. The sun is uninhibited, actually warming my skin, and there is only a gentle breeze. No sign of the more typical bone chilling North Coast cold, gray wind.
We sit on the grass in a loose circle. Two young men fight with mock swords behind us, laughing at their own missteps and brilliant parries. Beyond them a group of hitchhikers spange pedestrians likely to have money in their pockets. A single squad car and officer look on, disinterested. I am at peace. Despite my appearance, I belong.
The moderator is a gentle, open woman in a cowboy hat and well worn jeans. She keeps the meeting low key and the anger that bubbles up at other meetings is quickly dissipated by her soft spoken interjections. She has us introduce ourselves and say something about why we are here.
To my left a traveling college student introduces himself in English heavily accented by his native French. He has come here to see the differences between American revolution and French. Next to me is a man who arrived on bicycle in a worn denim jacket, decorated with various writings and hand drawn art. His gray hair is tied out of a weather beaten, bearded face. He tells about arriving in Arcata in the late 60’s, the last time revolution was in the air. He has waited a long time to see it resurface and glad that it has finally come.
The young man to my right says his name is Mango and the man next to him is Forrest. These are “forest” names, of course. A long tradition from Redwood Summer, when tree-sitters, trying to save the last of America’s Redwoods, gave arresting officers these false names, making conviction more difficult. Their speech is more angry than the rest, but it is redirected by the group away from aggression at the CEO’s of banks, toward education of their customers. The group decided on a lobby sit-in for two of the major banks in a few days.