So, I’m perusing the news this morning … not anything you want to do lightly these days.
It’s Aurora, Colorado, right now, in the blaring red typeface on the MSNBC landing page. 14 dead, dozens injured. Just letting that fact sink in on a sunny morning in NH. 14 dead and dozens injured.
So, simply going to a movie in this country riddled with guns and desperation has become a dangerous pastime. Makes me think of one of my old favorite poems by Denise Levertov. The pathos of hopefulness, indeed …
Innocent decision: to enjoy.
And the pathos
of hopefulness, of his solicitude:
–he in mended serape,
she having plaited carefully
magenta ribbons into her hair,
the baby a round half-hidden shape
slung in her rebozo, and the young son steadfastly
gripping a fold of her skirt,
pale and severe under a handed-down sombrero —
the stills with full attention, preparing
to pay and go in–
to worlds of shadow-violence, half-
familiar, warm with popcorn, icy
with strange motives, barbarous splendors!
Seems the lines between reality and fantasy have been breached. We don’t know … we can’t feel … the difference.
And then I think of Penn State and of how, whether you’re talking about the Roman Catholic hierarchy or a college football powerhouse, the protection of wealthy and established institutions trumps the protection of children every time.
We are a culture that’s scared to death. We don’t know ourselves. We are afraid of the world we live in. We blame the wrong things. We take the wrong actions. We stridently proclaim rigid moralities, as if they could hold us together.
But it’s our hearts that are dying. Fearfully, we don’t let anything unfamiliar touch them. Walled off in our little fiefdoms, we know one another less and less. Reality, full-hearted and alive, is like a receding horizon. We are nostalgic for it (as we are for tomatoes that actually taste like something) … but we don’t know how to get there.
It’s scary, getting there. You have to risk and soften and reach – at a time when that seems like a really dangerous thing to do.
Innocent decision … to enjoy …