The kids went to bed at 11:00 last night. Wyatt, face covered with soot and eyes completely bloodshot, fell into his sleeping bag at Grammy and Poppy's house and I didn't hear a peep until 9:00 this morning. Loretta slept with me, holding my hand until she could sleep through the crackling boom of fireworks. Lying there with her little feet on my stomach, I was infinitely thankful that the noises around us weren't noises of war. And sad for all the places in the world where that isn't so, especially Afghanistan and Iraq.
We went to the Anacortes Fourth of July parade with Grammy and Poppy like we do every year. When Loretta got her first piece of candy, she did laps in front of the parade-goers, jumping up and down like she had just won the lottery. She absolutely couldn't believe her good fortune--people throwing candy?! Amidst the emergency vehicles, political campaigns, ecstatic children, and marching bands, there was this veteran, riding his bike for peace. Veterans for peace always make me cry. If anyone knows the price of war, they do. And if anyone has a right to sit back and check out, they do. But there he was, pedaling under the gray skies, so purposeful and quiet.
Simone Weil says, "Absolute unmixed attention is prayer." What beautiful, rending prayers he prayed--spokes going round and round, the military tanks not far behind in the parade lineup. The rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air--may they be silenced everywhere, much sooner than we dared hope. Amen.