And as bad as 9/11 was, it’s just one of many such dotting my own personal pinball machine. The shooting in Newtown was no more directly relevant to me than was 9/11; no one I personally know was killed or hurt. Doesn’t stop the photo montage of kids, families, and empty seats at the dinner table. These events are still actinic in my mind’s eye, still too awful to really see. Roaming now, the highlight reel flashes over the tragedies of mundane illness, to the bolt-from-the-blue freak accidents, to global catastrophes like hurricanes, tidal waves and other “acts of God”. The acts of Man mark the shift from bile to fire, but with decades of war, struggle, and death, it’s so easy to roll them all up and condemn them as “inhumane”, and lose sight of that little girl with her parents’ blood on her hands as she wails. This is where the lamp burns through my mental filmstrip and everything goes white and hot. How utterly common that sight is across our little rock. Common now, and common for most of our history.
We’re a dirty, messy, and altogether beastly bunch.
I say all this after spending an hour just staring at my record collection. I had a bit of time between “things” this morning, and perhaps foolishly tried to shake my mood off like a dog. Failing that, hopefully deflect it a bit. Ha.
I picked up Copland. Dropped it on the turntable. Turned up Fanfare for the Common Man.
… and drifted ….
I’m reminded that we, as a species, aren’t defined by any one (huge, glaring) facet of our biological character. We are more than merely red in tooth and claw. Or rather, we can be. We certainly should be.
That’s what I struggle with on this anniversary and all of the others that mark out heinous acts. How to reconcile art with blood. I wonder if that’s what our Maker will struggle with, too.
Bah. Okay. Back to work.