The Council of Kindness is a silent sanctuary for visitors to have an opportunity to heal in the company of life-size animal and bird sculptures.
There is a solitary, quiet space in a shelter that is located along a path in the trees, away from other places, but not too far for a person to walk or to travel by wheelchair. The walls of this place have high windows. High enough so that the curious cannot see in, but big enough to let in sunshine.
Inside, in the middle of the building’s only room, is a circular bench.
On the bench are six wooden animals in different poses. They take up all of the bench surface except for a few areas where a visitor can sit with them, gazing into the center of the circle. Five of the animals are looking at the visitor. They include a rhinoceros, a grey wolf, a donkey, a bear, and a dolphin who is resting on her flippers on the side of a tank filled with water. The water in the tank ripples from a fountain that gives the circle a soft, soothing water sound.
The sixth animal, a giraffe, is looking up at one hundred small songbirds who are perched along a circular steel tube. Many of the birds are bunched in small groups apparently enjoying each other’s company. Some are looking down at the visitor. Two have found a place on the back of the rhinoceros.
The animals welcome the visitor. They make up a quiet council of sorts.
This is the Council of Kindness. Folks come here to sit within the quiet of the space. It is a temporary sanctuary from other places and other people. It is a place still enough to feel one’s own heartbeat and by doing so reestablish the rightfulness of life.