The Red-Headed Stepchild Blues

ALL OVER THE PLANET human beings presumably in the same evolutionary file drawer as my own, are killing each other. The cacophony of suffering cries threatens to become a blended din, blunting the individual voices. They are killing each other for tribal revenge, genocide, political territory, drug-induced blood lust, jealous rage, religious wars or simply because they are mean as a snake. They are killing each other slowly, one by one, and en masse, faster than a speeding bullet.

Rousing myself from the insensate pleasure of the cocoon woven from Buck’s arms and our warm morning bed sheets, I remove the ear bud from my right ear, and with it the excruciating details of cruelty in our world brought to me all through the night courtesy of BBC World News.

The morning sun sprays diamonds into the room through slats of the wooden window shade.

I stand at the kitchen sink eating a black plum. Sweet juice runs up my arm and drips from my elbow.

Pine needles are falling, knitting together a soft brown runner on the dirt road.

A ruby-throated hummingbird hovers above a fading pink rose, its wings beating 55 to 75 times each second.

On the screened porch, I hear the buzz of a dragonfly caught up in a spider’s web. Only one wing is involved so far. I intervene, carefully removing the web, and release the dragonfly outdoors.

Have you ever accidentally kicked over an anthill and noticed how quickly these tiny beings begin to fiercely rebuild?

At holy communion today, a wrinkled-faced red-haired baby fixed intense eyes on me. We had our own moment of communion. At the end of our serious, eye-to-eye exchange, he broke into a smile. I swear it was a most unbabylike knowing grin. His dark eyes twinkled.

What could he possibly know? After all, he is just at the beginning of all this. Isn’t he?


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