Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Head Full of Sky

I am living, for a spell. In a country at war. Coming from another country at war, I realised with a shock, though I  hardly ever think about it. Why don't I think about it? I wonder.

War is hateful. Hate starts war, fuels war and, so it seems, needs to spill an ocean of blood to exhaust itself through war. 

Why is it so easy, so necessary, for us-kind to find a reason to hate? Where does it originate? Why does it persist? 

I remember a Monty Python sketch of so long ago, where an upper-class twit and a lower-class slob were debating the ownership of property:

LCS:   Where did ya git yer Stately Home an' all this land from then?

UCT:   I inherited from my father.

LCS:    An' where did 'E git it from then?

UCT:    He inherited it from HIS father... 

Imagine  this conversation delving back into the mists of time ... . Until, ultimately:

LCS.  And where did HE get it from?

UCT: He fought for it

LCS (Raising his fists ) Alright then! Stick yer mitts up! I'LL fight YOU for it! 

And so,it goes on. And so it will I guess. I read cute things, I write cute things, but I'm not very optimistic. I toy with Eckhart Tolle's conviction that a new consciousness is evolving : a better human being is arising from the murk of who we are now -  but I see little sign of it beyond the bounds of the better-off and well-educated living in settled communities in secure countries. Please, someone, tell me I'm wrong.

There must be consolation.

I tend to bury my head in the sky, to let go of reality, to read someone else's news, to live and to love as if terrible stuff wasn't happening. No-one ever tried to teach me to hate. I am SO lucky that I found someone to despise all on my own. 

Yesterday was Memorial Day. I spent an hour or two in a cemetery near here. I observed, I am an outsider. I am British, my grief is rarely a public spectacle. I'm not saying that's a good thing. By no means. I was moved, profoundly moved,  by the sea of flags on Veteran's graves. I wept in the tent where a table was set for the men taken as prisoners of war, and who are not coming home. 

I couldn't go on. I need to stop, to see where hate gets us, in order to wonder ... Does it HAVE to be like this? 

Whom do YOU hate? Foreigners? Gay men and women? Criminals? Anyone? Do you call it something else to disguise your sin? I do. We all do. 

Can you stop? Do you want to? 

There must be consolation.

And there was.

A putting green. Complete with tee-off, putter, flag and sand trap. It was life-sized; it was splendid; it was built for the dead. 

I thought it quite, quite marvellous that some of us can be so untroubled by war, if not by grief, that we can be laid to rest in a quiet spot on a lovely day behind a marble plaque beside the 20th green.

I had to smile, and to be thankful.

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