Our Spring Break is over (it was last week). Boston is recovering. It’s Earth Day.
Lots going on and I’m feeling the need to look at beautiful pictures, listen to music, be quiet, let things sink in and settle. So much awfulness has happened and yet all around, I see trees blooming, blue skies, flowers, and birds. So much destruction, fear, and sadness and at the same time, stories of courage, love , and helpers. Stories that were unimagined before, in this way, in this place. New to here, not new to the world. Not new to Paris, London, Manhattan, Israel, Madrid, Iraq or Syria or so many other places where bombs, WMDs and terror strikes have either happened or happen regularly. I think that US mass shootings are our own version of domestic terrorism, but that’s another post for another day.
The first terror attacks I’m aware of remembering as a child were the Munich Olympics in 1972. Then Entebbe in 1976. Then The Coastal Road Massacre in 1978, in which the older brother of sisters in my ballet class was killed, as was American, Gail Rubin, a nature photographer, and many others killed and injured. I grew up in Israel watching out for “suspicious objects” and being extra vigilant at bus stops and in crowds. I remember when they removed the backseat/benches from the public buses I rode to school (because terrorists might leave bombs there) and that trash cans were removed from street corners (to prevent bombs from being placed there). I was used to opening my bag for inspection at the entry to every store, movie theater, or museum. I was used to soldiers everywhere. I know people who’ve been in near miss situations, or very close to attacks, or survived attacks. Most people in Israel know someone affected, in NYC, the same. Everywhere, it’s the same.
Circles of people. There is this awfulness in the world and we live with it, and no day is promised. All there is to do is be here now. It is indeed terrifying, it is what terror does, scare us and try to stop us from living, and in some cases they succeed in their missions. The only answer to it, aside from law enforcement and the powers that be being on top of things, is to live your life every day. That’s it. And try not to hate on groups of people, ethnicities, races, or nationalities. There’s no exclusive hold on who can be a terrorist. To me, it matters that we find out the precise who/what/where/why, of course, and that might take some time. But all terrorists are the same in the end, no matter where they come from or what they believe or what they wish to accomplish. Their causes can never justify their means, ever, anywhere. Their victims are innocent. Every last one. And every time this happens here, in our world, it feels like the end of the world. And in some ways, it is, but the world is still filled with good people, with beauty, with good. If you’re far away from the center of these things, you can recover faster and put goodness into the world faster. If you’re in it, if you’re hurting, it takes longer. This story I’m attaching is about a terror attack. TheBusStop is fiction, inspired by real events, written in 2004.
We’ve joined the rest of the world in this type of terror attack. But still, we say, we’re thankful it’s been so many years since 9/11 and how many attempts were thwarted? Many. Still, any attack is one too many for those who are hurt and killed. Yet, this happens and we must deal with it in whatever way we deal with it. My mother was in lockdown very close to the scene of the mayhem and capture at the end. She was safe, but it was a traumatic experience for everyone who was there. Depending on how close one was, at the marathon, all week-long. This will take time for people. But, I know Boston will carry on, as do all the other cities and places where this happens. And for some life will never be the same again. I wish comfort and recovery to all those who were hurt, who are grieving, who are trying to recover in Boston and who can’t make sense of the senseless and who may be feeling helpless even though triumphant, and guilty, even though grateful for surviving, and afraid, because it has happened and cannot be undone and it could happen again.
And it’s Earth Day. I find that especially after a tragedy, nature has a way of helping to heal things. I need to slow down, let the air go through my brain, the sun land on me, take notice of the sky. Sometimes breathing is enough to soothe some of what has happened, to be able to calm down a bit, a little bit, just to let the guard down enough to see that where you are, where I am, at this very moment is OK. I hope that it’s OK for you. I’m calmed by holding our cat, or walking for even five minutes and looking up to see the clouds. Writing also helps. And to deal with my helplessness feelings, it helps me immensely to do a task that’s easy, and that shows immediate and tangible results, such as: folding laundry, sorting a pile of mail and dropping most of it into the recycling bin, shredding credit card bill offers, raking out leaves, painting something unexpected or expected (chair, flower pot, rock, old tea kettle) and adding it to my garden.
Staring into space and doing NOTHING is also good if you’ve got a minute.
A couple of years ago, I wrote, “Green is My Son’s Favorite Color.” Our cousin, Sharon Rowe is founder and CEO of EcoBags and she compiled and edited this collection/series with various perspectives and ideas, Earth Day, Every Day.
The pictures are of a maple bud, and a progression of buds opening on our pear tree (no fruit) out front. Things that maybe will help us remember our planet and that it needs help and to be appreciated. And our earthlings, human and animal, they need help. We need to fix what is broken. One thing, fix one thing. In your little circle, one thing. We need: help/kindness/love/patience/understanding/empathy/sympathy/care/more love/hugs/rest/to hold hands/to breathe/to cry/compassion/to be heard/to listen/to sit down/to lie down/to kneel/to stand up/to thank/to give/to receive/to laugh/to love more.