The environment in which one resides plays a salient role in how one lives. Some humans live simply in nature cultivating and utilizing resources to live on their own accord. Others rely on macro economies in highly developed societies to provide the necessities of life. Regardless of the surroundings, humans have the unique ability to culturally adapt. Granted, this process of acclimation may not be seamless or without its hiccups for those traversing cultural boundaries, but generally speaking, we inherently find ways to conform to the elements at our forefront. Yet, given the fact that nature is our primary source for that which we need (e.g., water, food, and energy) our minds tend to gravitate towards environments plentiful with the aforementioned materials that unite communities with human connection and love. Many of us find peace in nature. Mother Earth tends to sharpen our minds and calm the psyche. In an effort to bring some of Earth’s blessings to the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, SFCCC AmeriCorps members began a mosaic project (led by fellow members, Erin Curtis and Shirley Hoang) focusing on natural and healthy nourishment: fruits, vegetables, and pleasant designs that evoke tranquility for the patients of Silver Avenue Family Health Center.
The preparation for the mosaic was elaborate. Several drawings were created of the luscious fruits and refreshing vegetables that would later be in stone tile form. Although I was absent for much of the prep work, it was evident that a great deal of thought was devoted to doing this right. And right it was. On Friday, our Team Day, everyone gathered at the clinic for a quick tour followed by a briefing from the mastermind mosaic artists and the rest of their team. Some AmeriCorps members had already mastered the art and were thus entrusted to take the lead. The rest of the team, however, all proved to be naturals themselves.
It was a beautiful scene: A group of volunteers, led by stellar artist Dana Albany, working together towards the goal of enriching the environment in which patients spend their most vulnerable moments--ill and in need of healing. As we worked, naturally, one of our members started jamming Disney music classics on his phone commencing an impromptu sing-a-long. Smiles were found on every face. Everyone appeared to be in harmony, feeling the mosaic muses flood our souls. By the end, there was a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as we gazed upon the beautiful, yet still incomplete exhibit. Standing among the fruits of our labor (pun intended) one really feels they are in nature, a sort of Garden of Eden, surrounded by the carrots, strawberries, oranges, lemons, avocados, apples, lettuce and more. I can say with the utmost certainty, that despite the innumerable distractions of urban living such as a car chase that ended just meters away from the mosaic project site, the new ambience of Silver Ave Family Health Center delivers a great deal of serenity that we seek as humans; all of which was constructed from the volunteered hand for those who need a little more peace in their lives.