A nice-looking man with a beautiful boy in the crook of one arm stopped in front of the peace-picket line today and began pacing to and fro, haranguing the effort of those sporting signs that urged an end to Afghanistan and Iraq and killing and a variety of other topics.
The man was angry and confused and angry all over again: Why were we unwilling to trust Obama? Didn't the people of Afghanistan and Iraq deserve a better life, a more peaceful life, a less locked-down life? He wasn't swearing, but his tone and volume said clearly, "What the fuck is the matter with you people?!"
The beautiful boy sat peacefully in his father's arms.
A couple of the pickets took the man's bait, tried to reason with him, tried to engage him in a more thoughtful approach. Naturally, it didn't work. The anger and confusion had him by the throat and he was determined to fight back ... and the peace picket was just a concrete manifestation of the battle he was trying to wage.
He was loud. And I thought he did a good job of shaking up what can otherwise be a pretty complacent group -- heart-felt, perhaps, but a bit smug in its conclusions ... much as the man was smug in his or I was smug in mine. He put a fire cracker under things and lit the fuse. The explosion blew complacency to the winds ... at least for the moment.
Fire crackers. Boom! And suddenly all those foregone conclusions, those well-coiffed arguments, those painstakingly gathered philosophies ... well, life seems to say, "Up yours!" Suddenly things become present and pressing and there are no hand-holds, smug or otherwise. It's not always a nasty thing -- sometimes it's as delightful as an unexpected kiss ... boom! and the whole world is revised, certainty washed away and yet certainty asserted, a total refreshment.
And all the time, the little boy sat in the crook of his father's arm, beautiful and at home.
Beauty seeks no hand-holds.