26 October 2007

Where nothing happens

Often, I wonder if the places that should be most celebrated, most honored and revered, are those places where nothing happened. Places where life, natural and human, simply is, where life occurs.

I discovered this poem a few months back. Perhaps it holds a thought to take with us on a day when the media and politicians and rabble of all persuasions will overload us with their rendition of the horrible events of 6 years past, and what we've learned - or not - from that day.

Perhaps this is the day to hang my Italian "pace" flag in the office window.

Or maybe I'll take another walk on the lonely stretch of beach where Yurok families once dried fish and carved canoes from massive redwood trunks with the bones of elk, where salmon return from years at sea to mate and die in the same stream in which they were born, where waves finally end their thousand mile journey in the crushing surf and dark sands as they have for eons, and will continue to do so for eons hence.

At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border

by William Stafford

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
Where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
Where no monument stands,
And the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
Unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed - or were killed - on this ground.
Hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
That people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

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