Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fragrant Pink

It’s pretty clear what happened. There being no jury, I hope it’s as clear to the judge as it is to me. An angry, violent, spoiled, self-centered man, Pistorius is a gun crazy fool, a liar who made up his story on the spot and is sticking to it. Intentional but not planned, Oscar shot Reeva in a fit of rage, and the instant he fired the shot that killed her he was sorry. Is that premeditated murder one? And the guy who, enraged by texting in a movie theater, shot the man who was texting. And that other gun crazy fool, Michael Dunn, another liar, firing in a fit of rage because the music was too loud and then hiding behind a law, claiming he thought he saw a gun. Dunn is being prosecuted by someone less after justice than fame leading to higher political office: she won’t go in on my vote. I’m no lawyer but it was second degree murder in all cases. Guilty. The penalty, the punishment? I don't know. We are obsessed with punishing folks, I don’t know. New Georgia gun law? Are there extra penalties for shooting while drinking or in a fit of anger? In a society where everybody totes a gun, to send a little child home for pointing a finger gun is perverse. Something's wrong. Bad wrong. With us. If a man named Noah builds a boat, run for the hills.
Crimea is part of whoever lives there, it isn’t a peninsula like Florida. Standing alone, Crimea is almost an island. Whoever lives there should decide whether they want to be Russian or Ukrainian or independent, and they have decided, it’s that simple. It’s not really that simple unless you live there. But it’s really that simple anyway.    
Malaysian Air. What happened? Could a terrorist hack into a plane’s systems and seize control -- either on board or from the ground? What foolish designers, executives and engineers decided that transponder and cockpit voice communication could be turned off by people on the plane? Like Vietnam, 9/11 taught us nothing. We are poor students of experience. No we’re not. Yes we are.
Pathos. In my University of Michigan MBA curriculum half a century ago, I took an ethics course that comes to mind constantly, a hope of any such course. It came sharply to mind yesterday with the repetitive TV coverage as authorities wrestled families and loved ones out of the room where they had just been told that Flight 370 went down in the Southern Indian Ocean, no survivors possible, their loved ones are dead. Weeping, sobbing men and women, swinging, screaming, kicking, being hustled physically from the room as we watched their agonizing grief. I like to think, and do know for myself, that our watching was not spectator curiosity but horror and sorrow as we internalize these things, put ourselves with them as we share their anguish. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy and what does that kyrie mean, truly mean, what’s its worth, its effect? Is it in the loving sorrow of us who watch and care? “Christ has no hands but our hands ...” no tears but our tears, no heart but our hearts.
A couple weeks ago Linda had our wonderful lawn company come out and clear a dreadful part of our yard of growth, including about a dozen old azaleas that my parents replanted here from our house in the Cove when they moved back here in 1963. Their crew replanted most of them. A day or so later Linda and I replanted one. It’s hard work, man, planting azaleas at 78. Monday afternoon, Linda and I replanted two more of them. There’s one left to plant. Why bother? These azaleas are family. Instead of playing ball, etc. with Scotty, Bill, Robert and friends every afternoon after school in the mid and late 1940s, my mother required  me to come home from Cove School to dig deep holes, pour in leaf mould, fertilizer, rich black dirt, peat moss, mix and stir dry then flood with gallons of water, and plant these azaleas. They’ve grown up and old with me, now trying to be as faithful to them as they’ve been to us these nearly seventy years. Ancient, light pink azaleas, quite rare in that the blooms have a delicate, sweet fragrance. One to go. Tomorrow. 

Tomorrow maybe. Maybe.


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