Chilly in the Park

It's December 8th, 2006, the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's assassination. In Central Park the trees are mostly bare, and the sun, unfiltered by foliage, is brilliant while the wind blows icy cold.

A group of about 100 gathers tightly around the tile mosaic circle that spells out Imagine at the entrance to Strawberry Fields and the musicians who play Beatles songs nearby. Two women stand on the scrolling iron arm rests of park benches, straining to see over the tallest heads in the crowd.

The mosaic is almost completely covered with offerings of apples, green and red; candles tall and short; roses, carnations, single flowers and bouquets; drawings and paintings; a purple teddy bear; a poster for this event that reads: "Non Profit Sing In Friday Till 1 AM. Guitars etc, needed." Obviously the shout out worked: guitarists, singers, a tambourine player and a bass player are here.

Three PM: the bass player packs up his instrument, preparing to leave. "Gotta play a gig tonight," he tells a nearby bystander."

Dog walkers pass through, one with a shivering white bulldog wearing a lavender sweater. Another is accompanied by a large poodle in a green sweater.
One guy wears a black woolen coat covered front and back with buttons bearing a variety of sentiments against war, and promoting Free Speech, and Stop Police Brutality.

A media type with a camcorder interviews some attendees. Many are from other countries, some are New Yorkers. One thirty-something guy, built like a football player, wears a light gray hoody with The Beatles scrawled across the front in lettering reminiscent of the early Beatles logo. "Twenty years I've been coming here," he tells the journalist.

Another man, named Bob, weaves through the crowd, handing out his stickers to everyone. White with bold black print, they read: "Sow Only Seeds of Love." The small print across the bottom says: "Let this sticker forever remind you to spread love and kindness to others as often as you can.

"I think that's what he was all about," he says about John.

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