bunt sign

Saturday, March 9, 2002

Since nothing interesting came in the mail today, and the weather was a nondescript gray, and I didn't see any movies, and the only work I did was trying to locate the Boss to give him his messages, and the U.S. television networks won't show curling no matter how many letters I send, I'm left with nothing to write about. I did get out, briefly, to the post office, and I picked up the paper and dropped in on Mom, but other than that I spent most of the day up in the loft finishing The Copper Beech.

I love this book, by the way, and I don't know where Maeve Binchy has been all my life. I only have the book because the book club had a special price on a three-volume set. All three have been sitting on my shelf for months, but now I'm grateful to have two more of her works to look forward to reading.

This one will always be special to me. It made me cry more than once, for more than one character. It's a celebration of life, and the way the lives of the people in a small Irish village intertwine. It's also about how you can never know the truth about a person's character or motivations just by looking at that person through someone else's eyes. Someone who appears to be callous or cool on the surface might be unsure and frightened underneath.

Each chapter of the book is one character's story, and the other people in the town appear from that person's point of view. By the end, you have a picture of how people can live together and accommodate one another, even though no one can know what lies within the depths of another person's soul.

And after all, isn't that what society's all about? The only way people can live together is by making room for each other. We can't ever fully understand the complexities of life on the other side of the tracks, or the other side of the world, but we have to try.

Only by doing our best can we find a way for Israelis and Palestinians to share the same strip of land without murdering each other. Remembering that the sun doesn't shine and the rain doesn't fall only on us isn't a romantic luxury. It's a recognition that a narrow vision gives us a distorted picture of reality. The more of life's complexities we try to encompass, the more likely we'll be able to appreciate the beauty and love in the world. The more we share, the more we have.

Obviously, it's more complex than just that. Too many people exist with too much history behind their resentments — and in too small a space. Sometimes things spin out of control, and it seems that reason will never prevail and peace is impossible. That's when we have to make the greatest effort to see all sides. And just because that one or that other one doesn't care or doesn't know how to try, it doesn't mean we shouldn't. It means we have to try harder.

looking north

Looking out along the driveway on a cloudy March afternoon.

There is evil in the world. Terrible things happen to innocent people because of who they are, or where they live, or just because. We hold people accountable for the evil acts they perform, but we don't punish the innocent just to make sure the guilty are punished as well. And we don't decide someone is evil for any other reason than their own deeds. We don't spread hate and then act horrified at the consequences. We foster understanding and acceptance, love and hope. Otherwise, the legacy we leave our children will not be merely a mean, bitter, broken world, but no world at all.

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Latest recommendation:

Mike, Some Jingle Jangle Morning, March 9, Maybe I Should Write More Often?

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Disarmed
"I can still tie my shoes, although it hurts when I do."

Two years ago: Captain on the Bridge
"The Big Kahuna has hit the beach, and it's time for the sand crabs to dive for cover."

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