A Fine Afternoon, Caught Between History and the Ever Present Future.

Posted on January 1, 2012


It was an unusually warm afternoon in late October. My friend had disappeared, following her daughter, who had wandered off, cheerfully exploring.

Someone was flying a kite and, as I lay on my back in the grass, I decided that it was very generous of him or her to provide such a wonderful sparkling charm to look at against the vast blue of the sky.

I sat up on my elbows, with my shoulders in my ears, trying to see who was flying the kite, but I couldn’t trace the line to its source. So, I watched the different people and pets, living, playing and enjoying. I smiled and felt good.

All of a sudden, I wondered about the bones of the very many murdered and brutalized that lay beneath this broad field of grass and in the topsoil of the history that had brought us to this beautiful day in this beautiful park under this beautiful sky.

I wondered what they would expect of us, comfortably cocooned in our unique moment in history, in our unique place on the planet, when all around us, both in time and in geography, tsunamis of suffering buffet the dikes of the imperialism that preserve our well being.

The sun was still bright, the sky was still vast, the day was still beautiful, but blood stained all of it and everything and no one seemed to notice or care.

I decided, if all those who had suffered and suffer had the opportunity to choose, they would prefer peaceful days in the sun and the park and the sky very much like this day.

I wondered, then, would they want us to pursue justice, if it meant grinding more bones in the mortar of unrest. Would they want us to enjoy the peace of the day, if it meant ignoring the ever expanding and always unmarked mass graves that fertilize our peace.

Do we owe it to them to enjoy that which they never enjoyed and would have surely cherished as well and as good as we cherish it or do we owe it to them to disturb the peace and safety of the few until there is peace and safety for the all?

And it is a question I now often ask myself, even in the sun and in the sky and in the peace and in the short toll of new year’s turn.