Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yesterdays tragedy burried in todays garden.

I saw a quote today in an old copy of The Oprah Magazine..."Today's newspaper wraps tomorrows fish".
I immediately had a flash back to the day I was mulching my garden, laying down thick layers of wet newspaper on the soil (and weeds), then piling the wood chips atop all.

I had gone to the recycling center and brought home a big box of newspaper and put them to soak in a tub of water.
As I pulled out one section at a time, I would run my eyes over yesterdays news. I would read the headlines, or if I were lucky, the comics. I marveled at the Suduko puzzles and crosswords...done in PEN no less!

But one front page still haunts of four of the Canadian soldiers killed this summer in Afghanistan.

There were their childish faces, staring out at me, like boys playing dress-up in their uniforms and colored barrettes. It was devastating. They were young, some probably younger than Nialle, and they were dead.

I imagined their parents. What would they feel if they could see me...pulling a paper from the vat... letting the water drip...drip...drip, through my fingers as I looked at their sons smiling, hopeful eyes...opening the pages and smoothing them out onto the ground...covering them up with a shovel full of aromatic woodchips?

Would they wail and scream their indignation? Would they turn away in despair, anger, hate? Would they silently bow their heads as I did several times, tears in my eyes, disbelief at the waste of such potential?

As I worked, I showed my boys these faces as I lifted the headlines from the cold water..."They are so young!" I said. "Look at their faces! This is horrible beyond belief!" Then I would lay them down, smooth them out, cover them up.
It seems a fitting analogy for their silent dismissal from the brief fame that their early deaths earned them. What is their remembrance to those of us who first saw their faces posthumously plastered around the world? Hero? Or just another brief bit of angst brought to millions of commuters who briefly beheld their faces while sipping their four dollar lattes on their way to work that morning in July, before dropping them into the recycling bin at the end of the day...or burying them under the compost in their gardens...or were they perhaps used by fishermen, wrapping them around wet, shining dead fish?

Their names were Cole, Matthew, Lane and Colin. Though I can't tell this to their parents, I will remember them as I sit in my garden, thankful for the sun on my face and the sound of my boys playing nearby.


Karyn/Mom said...

Thank you, Arlene, for reminding me that there are PEOPLE behind the headlines.

Bless you for remembering those boys.

Kathleen said...

Oh goodness. What makes a hero? They don't want to be called heroes...they were just doing their jobs.

Very articulate and poetic, Arlene. I'll be blogging about this.