Empty Chair

maplesI’m on my way to Pilipino Hall for Tai Chi class. Aki can brush my knee when she wants attention but can’t manage the parry-parry-punch so she stays home. I carry a camera because the low angled morning sun is turning even tired willow leaves into a show. I will be late to class. According to the weather service, we should be in the middle of week long stretch of rain so walking in sunlight, seeing the electric combination of light and fall color brings the kind of joy I once felt while Swedish milk chocolate melted in my mouth.

chairAt Capitol School Park I swing over to a bronze rendering of an empty chair. Members of the Juneau High School class of 1942 placed it there to commemorate the forced internment of their valedictorian and all the other Japanese Americans in Juneau. Two strands of origami cranes, their paper bodies soaked by last night’s rain, hang down the back of the chair. The cranes are a prayer for peace and longevity, the chair a protest against the unfair incarceration of loyal Americans. I wish it were a binding promise of, “never again,” and hope that it will remind the generations of children that will sled past the diminutive monument of the destructive power of fear.flowers

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