Tuesday, August 4, 2009

International Peace Gardens

On our way home from Canada last month we made a stop at the International Peace Gardens which rests on the US/Canada border. Dedicated in 1932 as a site contending for world peace and promise of peace between the two nations in which this park rests.

Walking around the park that beautiful day the strange liminality of the place struck me. This site and this channel of water symbolizing the national borders leads up to the two vertical towers and eventually the doors of an architecturally modern chapel bathed in orange light.

The non-sectarian chapel, constructed of concrete and marble, echoes horribly. The slanted walls are inscribed with memorable quotations about peace from men and women around the world.

And while the park is beautiful, and worth the $10 entry fee, it struck me that the state with more nuclear weapons than most countries has this place dedicated to world peace. This is not the first time the North Dakota's nuclear arsenal has left me with an uneasy feeling. I was impressed at the irony that only miles away were nuclear silos embedded in the ground. I wonder, do other people recognize this irony? Do they dismiss the presence of the weapons in light of their privileged patriotism? And I wonder about this site and its dedication to peace around the world. Does it's peaceful dedication ring hollow as nuclear silos buried across this prairie landscape? Or could it be that it's proximity to these profanities of space offer an alternative way of thinking and being? Anyway...just some random thoughts this Tuesday morning.