by Diana Nelson Jones/April 4
Walkabout is a non-denominational, equal opportunity blog. So much so that even though this is Easter, we do not go out of our way to note things religious ...
... except that we were on a tour of south Oakland recently and ended up at the Shrine of the Blessed Mother -- Mother Mary. Signs to the shrine point you down Ward Street as you cross Frazier and then, when Ward ends at Wakefield, you turn west-ish on a cobbled street that plunges downhill and ends in a plank walkway that connects to a little spur of city steps that connects to a brick walkway that ends in this shrine to Mother Mary.
If she's speaking words of wisdom, you can't hear her for all the miniature highway traffic traveling along the parkway below, but she is surrounded by flowers, and people visit her. Her shrine sits in the middle of an area where you can sit. Statues of kneeling figures sit in crevices in the shaly cliffside above.
A little pool forms at the base of the layers of shale that resemble a huge stack of old-style school chalkboards. You could hear the water trickling despite traffic roar.
It's so incongruous, this place of peace viewed against the concrete hell below. Once the trees fill in, it will be quieter and more peaceful, and peace is what people need. I remember being a kid and being told that the prince of peace rose from the dead and that Easter signified his resurrection. All I knew was that I had to wear little lacy socks and tight shoes to church and that a solid chocolate bunny would find its way into my hands at some point.
Bliss and peace are related.