Thursday, October 12, 2006

San Francisco City Hall has two rows of flag poles going forth from either side of its entrance perpendicularly. The flag poles start across the street from City Hall, but visually, they create the possibility of a fluttering entryway. They carry different sets of flags on different days.

Today they are waving the flags from American history. There are stars and stripes with different numbers of stars. There are flags from before the Stars and Stipes were made, when revolution was brewing. Someone who knew how to sew from being a housewife or a sailor would sit down at home and whip up a flag.

Sometimes it was the Tree of Liberty flag. White field, green simplified outline of tree--a pine tree or rounded leaf tree as the maker preferred (as the maker saw out the window?) The words under the tree: "An Appeal to Heaven."

I had seen flag as a tiny rectangle printed in a book. It wasn't until I saw it waving in the wind in the midst of many government buildings, not too far from the Asian Art Museum with many objects from the continent that has routine prayers flags that I got it.

It is up there in the wind, appealing to heaven as it flies partway to heaven. And now, as a copy flies amid hundreds of government workers and hundreds of poor people, which is what the Civic Center holds, it keeps praying. Help us do good. Help us do better.