Last week our mayor and police chief knelt with protestors in the street to honor George Floyd. We were proud. And now Santa Cruz has made national news again: a sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed yesterday afternoon in the course of an investigation. This does not have to do with covid or race or protests or demonstrations. It is a stark reminder of what our police officers face every day on the job. Sgt Damon Gutzwiller reported for work yesterday to protect and serve his community. By all accounts he was a vibrant asset to the team, a bright caring young man with a family waiting for him at home. Details of the situation are still unclear, but it appears that a lone local man with a van full of weapons and explosives tried to run from a confrontation with the police, not before shooting his assault rifle and detonating several homemade bombs, hijacking a couple of vehicles, and injuring at least two other officers. He is in custody.
So this is to say: listen, people. Keep your hearts open. Right and wrong arent always where you think they are. We are all in this together.
This photo is so at odds with those words. But here it is: a man blowing giant bubbles by the ocean on a beautiful blue morning. The joy on his face is contagious. He is being so careful, gauging the traffic in the street so he won’t startle any drivers, keeping an eye out for little kids or old ladies who may delight inordinately in his work. The bubbles breathe and change color and float high in the sky, traveling a couple blocks before they all fade away. I sit on a rock at the curb and try to anticipate where they will go next; the bubble man shifts his position a little to catch the wind in my direction. It feels like we’re having a dialogue. This moment couldn’t be farther from the unrest in our streets, in our hearts. And I am unspeakably grateful for it. Thank you, thank you, shout the drivers as they roll away from the stop sign, thank you say the parents pulling wagons, the joggers and dog walkers and Sunday strollers. Thank you bubble man for reminding us that joy is here too. It is not here for Mr Floyd, or for Sgt Gutzwiller, or for countless others and their families, but it is here, random and beautiful.