Monday, February 15, 2016


The news from home was devastating.  A murder-suicide was the summary story in the media. I learned of it in the same blunt manner I first heard of the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11, 2001 - akin to abruptly banging one's head when standing up. In both cases I was making what in hindsight were trivial enquiries about matters affecting my personal affairs, only to be drawn up and told in reply the rude and brute intelligence. It is no surprise that in the days following the revelation an air of disturbance has prevailed. Nature itself has aligned with the misery, lulling me in my bed until late in the morning, heavy rains and widespread clouds throughout the past several days. I have tried as usual to maintain my regular agenda but a dark void consumes me and weakens my spirit. Any remorse that might exist is speedily replaced by pallid dejection.  It is impossible even to arouse anger at undeniable madness. A shattered treasure, no one to blame, nothing but a horrible and irrevocable incident.

The intensity and depth drains the animation from all else.  One feels either trite or irreligious to imagine doing anything apart from being petrified by it. The event so thoroughly levels all distinctions that an alternative is unimaginable. Meanwhile the grey clouds gather and roll by, occasionally parting to reveal a shard of blue sky, then gathering again and overwhelming the atmosphere, irrepressible austerity.

How quickly the gloss of life is erased, exposing its obdurate surface. This shocking attack upon buoyancy forces upon the landscape a startling, raw view. Of course eventually the gloom will pass but each time an event like this happens another portion of complacency is chipped away, reminding us in yet another way how the world ends. Like any tragedy of this scope it triggers heightened focus on all that is precious in life, especially family and friends. Sometimes there is serious reconsideration of religion and also security generally.

Not the least of the fallout is a reawakening to the surprise and changeability of life, the instant and unanticipated modification of everything. Reminiscences of historical losses loom again. We are made precarious and de-stabalized. For some we know that settling back into things will be inconceivable and may trigger critical alteration.  New gravitational forces will be felt.  For some there will be lingering hate.

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