Flying S.S.W. This ain’t Disney.

August 7th. This morning. 6 a.m. LaGuardia Airport. New York City.

Peak summer vacation season.

Young Parents. Families. Children. Babies. Backpacks. Teddy Bears. Duffel bags. Baby bottles.

Mothers, carrying delicate cargo, children nuzzled in necks, arms straining, heavy eyelids – – and it’s only 6:15 am. It’s going to be a long day.

ID’s. Passports. Longer. Everything’s longer. Wait times at check-in. At security. At X-Ray machines. But today, it’s ok. Families, together, excited, it’s summer vacation. There’s a sense of community in the terminal this morning. It’s buzzing. A good buzz.

Air conditioning blows in the waiting area, children huddle, gathering warmth around knees of their parents.

CNN blaring from TVs overhead. White Nationalists. Hate. More dead. [Read more…]

Names written in the pale sky. Names rising in the updraft amid buildings. Names silent in stone. Or cried out behind a door.


Notes:

  • Post Title: From Billy Collins’ poem “The Names” dedicated to the victims of September 11 and to their survivors.
  • Photo Source: New York Post, Photos on the World Trade Center Attacks.

14 Years Old

manchester, Barra,scotland,terrorist,hearse,

The hearse carrying the coffin of Eilidh MacLeod is driven across Traigh Mhor beach at Barra, Scotland, airport after it arrived by chartered plane. Ms. MacLeod, 14 years old, was among the 22 people who died in the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22, which also left more than 100 injured. (Andrew Milligan / Photos of the Day, June 3-4, 2017, wsj.com)

Walking Cross-Town. With little ones.


3:30 a.m. yesterday. Saw this photo and froze.

This THIS is the world our children live in today.

Look at her. Those eyes. Those little shoes.

Precious is tucked in close to Dad who is buying tickets for the show.

And then the scene darkens, a conjoining of rivers with Catherine Abbey Hodges’ closing lines in “How to Begin“: “You’re a strand of dark thread sticking a word to a river. Then another.

Manchester. 22 dead. Women, children, soft targets. UK terror threat raised to Critical. 1000 troops deployed.

Dear Ms. Hodges, is the question How to Begin?

Or is it, How does it end? [Read more…]

God @TheTweetofGod

god

“I’ve lost control of the situation.”

God‏ @TheTweetOfGod


Notes: Quote Source – Beth @ Alive on all Channels. Photo: Tweets of God.

We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra

morel-mushroom

After a run of darkness (Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minnesota, Nice), Rebecca Solnit writes an essay for The Guardian titled “Hope is an Embrace of the Unknown” on living in dark times. I’ve shared a few excerpts below.


After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many come from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms, mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but it is the less visible long-term organising and groundwork – or underground work – that often laid the foundation…

…our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of centre stage. Our hope and often our power…

What startled me about the response to disaster was not the virtue, since virtue is often the result of diligence and dutifulness, but the passionate joy that shone out from accounts by people who had barely survived. These people who had lost everything, who were living in rubble or ruins, had found agency, meaning, community, immediacy in their work together with other survivors…But people return to those selves, those ways of self-organising, as if by instinct when the situation demands it. Thus a disaster is a lot like a revolution when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible…

Together we are very powerful, and we have a seldom-told, seldom-remembered history of victories and transformations that can give us confidence that, yes, we can change the world because we have many times before. You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future. We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.

~ Rebecca SolnitHope is an embrace of the unknown’: Rebecca Solnit on living in dark times


Photo: Morel Mushroom by Kim Fleming

 

Nice (84)

nice-terrorist-art-blood

nice-bastille-day-blood.jpg


Source: rakham-lerouge and Anshealin Sketching Machine (via nini poppins)

 

Orlando. Pulse. I’m not seeing it either.

red-blood-orlando-pulse

I’ll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I.

― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest


Notes:

Homebound from Baltimore. Amtrak 2150.

train-tracks-commute-tunnel

5:30 a.m. Return from Baltimore on Amtrak’s first run of the day.  The Quiet car is sparsely populated. Light rain falls. The train rumbles north to NYC . . . Boston last stop.

At Penn Station, commuters fill the empty seats. A Suit takes the open seat next to me. He opens his laptop, twists in his earbuds and settles in. I glance over. Millennial. Blue navy suit. Sharp red tie. Country of origin? Non-U.S.

Five minutes pass.

He grabs his laptop and walks to the back of the train and disappears into the next car. I’m happy for the elbow room. I return to my emails.

P.A.: “45 minutes to the Stamford Station.”  On Time.

I scan the morning papers.

40 minutes to the Stamford Station.

I hadn’t noticed his black duffel bag on the floor – black straps, logo-free and hulking motionless in the shadows.  A black umbrella rests on top. The aisle seat remains empty.

30 minutes to the Stamford Station.

I return to my reading, but my eyes are drawn to the unmarked bag, the umbrella and the empty aisle seat. My ears are alive. Ticking? Flashing digital countdown timer?

20 minutes to the Stamford Station. [Read more…]

Just, so much (too much) here…

2015-12-26_06-38-17


Photo: A U.S. service member salutes her fallen comrades during a memorial ceremony for six Airmen killed in a suicide attack, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. The deadliest attack in Afghanistan since 2013 killed six U.S. troops on Monday, including a family man from Long Island, New York; a South Texan; a New York City police detective; a Georgia high school and college athlete; an expectant father from Philadelphia; and a major from suburban Minneapolis with ties to the military’s LGBT community. They were killed when their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle near Bagram Air Base, the Defense Department said. (wsj.com: Tech Sgt. Robert Cloys/U.S. Air Force / Associated Press)

 

San Bernardino

bird-in-hand

They know, I thought,
like the birds of Iraq before shock and awe
on the first day of spring.
It was said that the sparrows and songbirds stopped singing,
their silence heralding the dropping of bombs.

~ Patti Smith, Her Name Was Sandy. M Train


Image: imandrah-land. Story: Shooting in San Bernardino Kills at least 14

I just don’t see the connection

Paris-the-newyorker-red-blood-terrorist

Once he heard the gunfire stop, Matthieu made his way back to the restaurant. “I saw a lot of women dead on the ground,” he said, his voice catching on the “f” of “femmes.” “It was mostly women that I saw.” He found one of his friends, a Brazilian studying in Paris, lying in the middle of the street. She had been seated across from him, and was shot in the chest. Matthieu sat on the ground and held her legs, feeling her shallow breathing. She would survive.

People were running through the streets in an eruption of panic, shouting as the police arrived and tried to establish order. The scene couldn’t be secured; Matthieu worried that the shooters might return. Next to him, a man without injuries held his girlfriend’s lifeless body in his arms. Then, without warning, he ran off. The woman was about twenty-five and very beautiful. Matthieu searched for words to describe her perfect, uncanny stillness. […]

Last week’s victims were normal people doing normal Parisian things: eating and drinking together, going out at night to hear a concert or watch a soccer game. After a few days, the rhythm of Parisian life returned, but a new fatalism hung in the air. People seemed resigned to the idea that more attacks would happen, maybe soon. […]

I remembered that when Matthieu and I first met we’d discussed our upbringings, and religion had come up. His family was Catholic, but I couldn’t remember if he was religious. “I’m more agnostic than Catholic, though I come from the Catholic culture,” he said. “In any case, this isn’t really a moment when I’m thinking about religion. When I think about religion, I always think about it in connection with what’s beautiful, what’s good. But never in connection with evil. I just don’t see the connection.”

~ Alexandra Schwartz, Letter from Paris: The Long NightTerrorist attacks and a city changed.


Illustration: Arc De Triomphe by Christoph Niemann in The New Yorker

Did you feel this too?

paris-terrorist-flag-blood

After great pain, a formal feeling comes—

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs—

In the days after Paris, Emily Dickinson’s poem kept ringing through my mind as I tried to figure out what I felt—and, surprisingly, didn’t feel. I did not, as the facts emerged and the story took its full size, feel surprised. Nor did I feel swept by emotion, as I had in the past. The sentimental tweeting of that great moment in “Casablanca” when they stand to sing “La Marseillaise” left me unmoved. I didn’t feel anger, really. I felt grave, as if something huge and terrible had shifted and come closer. Did you feel this too?

[…]

I feel certain that in the days after the attack people were thinking: This isn’t going to stop.

~ Peggy Noonan, Uncertain Leadership in Perilous Times


Image: The Economist

Riding Metro North. With the Blues.

moving-train

I run out the door at 5:30 a.m. to catch the 5:40 Express to Grand Central.
55° F. Breezy. A spring day in November.
Hit me Big Man, hit me with more of this.

There, out of the corner of my right eye, it slithers. A brown snake.  A full cup of spilled coffee tipped by the jarring of steel on rough track.  It’s three feet away and closing in.  Roots of the tree spread.

I point.  He catches my eye. He shifts to the empty seat on his left as the snake veers to his right.  He tips his hat, grateful.

We both watch the flow, creeping. Two men.  A suit on one side with his Tumi bag, Shinola Watch and e-Reader in hand.  A construction worker on the other side, with his well-worn blue jeans, a green florescent vest, steel toe boots, leather supple and well oiled. A lunch bag is tucked on top of his backpack.

He turns to his NY Post.

I turn to my e-Reader.

And my morning reader starts to pop.

Michael Wade: “I would be impressed by a college that gives credits for blue collar labor.”

NY TimesHalf of New Yorkers Say They Are Barely or Not Getting By, Poll Shows

Steve Layman: You probably don’t deserve what you have. So keep moving and earn it” via Austin Kleon.

The train pulls into Grand Central. And we pour out. I approach the main terminal.

“Awwww Puppy.”  I see an older dog ahead at the entrance.  A golden lab mix on a leash wearing a blue vest.  You look like a “Sadie.” [Read more…]

Riding Metro North. Vive la France.

moving-train

Monday.

2:45 am.

How quiet it is.
Too soon to wake.
Too late to stop the mind.
A hamster on the wheel, spinning.

Duras: “How quiet it is,” […] “Who’d believe our nights are such an ordeal?”

3:30 am.

Up.
Pre-dawn.
In the Quiet Zone.
Ascending to de Botton’s higher consciousness. Or somewhere.

Alain de Botton: “Perhaps late at night or early in the morning (when there are no threats or demands on us), when our bodies and passions are comfortable and quiescent, we have the privilege of being able to access the higher mind …We loosen our hold on our own egos and ascend to a less biased and more universal perspective, casting off a little of the customary anxious self-justification and brittle pride.”

I do feel that ascension. Now if I could only park here.

6:51 a.m.

Father and his daughter walk to train station.  It’s 45° F.  “It’s cold Dad.” I look down at her bare red legs pockmarked with goose bumps: “Why aren’t you wearing nylons?” She snaps back at me: “Really Dad? Nylons. Nobody wears Nylons anymore? That’s creepy.

So, now I’m on the wrong side of 50 and creepy.  OK, so it wasn’t a focus area. And, it’s not that I haven’t looked at women’s legs. And there you are, a flat stone skipping silently across the water, jumping decades of fashion revolution. [Read more…]

Instantly we are scanning Twitter, calling out estimates of the dead.


paris-terrorist-solidarity


Notes:

Paris

paris-terrorist-peace


Peace for Paris (Thank you Rachel)

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo

cpl-cirillo-dogs

That’s a photo of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s dogs waiting for him to come home. Unfortunately, he’s not coming home. Not today. Not ever.

He was near the end of an hour’s duty standing honor guard at the foremost monument to his nation’s fallen soldiers, the granite and bronze National War Memorial in central Ottawa, when a gunman shot and fatally wounded him on Wednesday morning.  He was a barrel-chested young man with a ready smile, a gym buff with a fondness for rescue dogs, and the very proud father of a sandy-haired boy who had just started kindergarten. (NY Times)

And be sure not to miss this short NBC news segment that ran last night on Canada’s tribute to Cpl Cirillo. As a fellow Canadian, I was MOVED but the response.

NBC Nightly News: Funeral Held for Canadian Soldier Killed in Parliament Shooting

And Michael Petrou captures the mood in his NY Times Op-Ed essay titled Shattering the Peace on Parliament Hill:

HERE in Canada’s capital, Parliament Hill is about as majestic as public spaces get. The Parliament buildings, somber and gothic, push into the sky above the river. An expanse of green lawn slopes down to Wellington Street with its tourists and a hot dog vendor. The whole place would be imposing if the locals treated it with deference. But we don’t. There’s no security stopping pedestrians from getting onto the hill. On any given day you’re likely to find people on the lawn playing soccer or doing yoga. There are almost always protesters of some sort — usually polite and not that obtrusive. Activists calling for marijuana legalization occasionally gather to smoke pot. I’ve always been proud of the relaxed feel of the place, its accessibility and, frankly, its lack of visible security. It fits with my ideal of a government that isn’t separate from or above the people it serves. You don’t see portraits of our prime minister in Canadian schools or public buildings, either. After all, he’s not our head of state, and the government is Her Majesty’s; he merely runs it. On Wednesday, a gunman exploited this openness at the heart of Canada’s democracy. After murdering the Canadian soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the nearby National War Memorial, he ran into the main Parliament building and was just outside members’ caucus rooms when he was shot dead

[…]As for Parliament Hill, it and downtown Ottawa had a far less placid atmosphere Wednesday. There were hundreds of armed men and women, dogs, sirens and, briefly, the faint smell of gunpowder. And yet the police were professional and respectful. Onlookers were calm. The hill may never fully return to what it was before, but I hope it comes close. Locked gates would seem out of place here.

 


Photograph: twitter

 

 

Peace

September 11, 2001


Source: Madame Scherzo

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