Rock music is reverberating around my neighborhood as I write this. You should understand that the area where I live is laid-back and still pretty tie-dyed, one of the last bastions of the ’60s in some ways and a haven for aging hippies. It’s also most likely one of the last places in the United States where people would think a fine way to spend a Saturday afternoon and evening is to hold a Peace & Love Fest, which is what is happening right now at the nearby Lake Claire Land Trust.
The neighborhood’s Peace & Love Fest cranked up about three hours ago. I might wander over there sometime in the next six hours or so that it will continue. But, even without being there, I’ve been doing my part for Peace & Love this afternoon right here at my own home. My sister and I have joined together to have a Peace & Love Catnap-in.
Most of you are familiar with sit-ins. As far as I know, Mahatma Gandhi was the first to use them in strikes in South Africa and later the non-violent independence movement in India. In the American South, sit-ins changed history in the late 1950s and early 1960s as students simply sat down at lunch counters to protest racial segregation and refused to leave. The students said their movement was about “more than a hamburger,” and it really played a big role in changing laws and attitudes on racial discrimination.
Later in the ’60s, the wider counter culture that blossomed (and produced many of the kinds of folks who live in my neighborhood) engaged in other “ins”: human be-ins (just to celebrate life and love), die-ins (to protest the war in Vietnam), teach-ins (to inform people about issues ranging from war to women’s rights to gay rights to the environment) and even a couple of well publicized bed-ins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono to protest war and promote peace.
My sister, Maura Lai O’Connell, and I decided the best way to join with our neighbors and show our dedication to Peace & Love was to do what we know how to do best. We’re not great at dancing to rock and roll (despite what I will modestly concede is our great grace of movement). What we do best is catnap. And that’s what we’ve been doing all afternoon.
We’ve done these catnap-ins before, and I have reason to believe they’ve been hugely influential. For instance, I’ve been told by people (and other animals) that they have seen cats napping just about everywhere around the globe. I can only conclude from all the available information that these cats must be joining in our movement.
Now wouldn’t it be great if all species would join us in this noble campaign? Catnap with us and maybe all of us can change the world for the better.
Not good at napping? Don’t despair. Maura Lai and I know that it’s kind of an art, one that we’ve developed through great discipline and hours of hard practice. If you can’t nap, find some other “in” that you can do well — perhaps a mow-your-grass (or your neighbors’ grass)-in or a wash-dishes-in or a play-Scrabble-in or maybe just a have-a-drink-in. Like us, all of you can be “in”-spiring to others.
Peace and love to you all.