My coping mechanism is to inundate myself with information. After 9/11, I watched the news nonstop. It was actual news in the days immediately afterward, do you remember? News like in Ireland where the anchors give facts and interview experts and suddenly the world mattered again. We noticed we weren’t immune. Or secure.
Friday morning I woke to posts about Colorado, and read every article I could find. I read a collection of tweets that built from the movie-goers standing in line beforehand to the incomprehensible aftermath. Aftermath. Such a painful word. Heavy and searching. I wish, sometimes, it were easier to love this world. That I could do it without thinking. Without willing myself. There were children in that theater. He held a gun to one of them. Maybe several. I’ve stopped following the story. I can’t bear it.
My dad was military, and had a handgun, and I remember the first time I held it. The surprising weight of it. My arm extended, I closed one eye and tried to imagine pulling the trigger. But there’s nothing. I see nothing. My arm extended, the sight, and nothing. I hate guns. I hate them. I fought with my ex about them all the time. The awful beauty of his Enfield rifles. The bayonets. Even the idea of those weapons is sharp. Could you drive that metal into another person? Could you? Why, brother? Why?
Whatever spark is inside us, whatever spark, it deserves beauty. Wonder. It deserves the river rushing past, the salt spray, the leaves on grass. It deserves flitting insects and that strange shaggy creature on the horizon. It deserves the enthusiasm of our neighbors. Of art in the darkness. Of a story told to cameras. That spark deserves nurturing. What have we done? What have we done?
I need to set this down. I need to rest. My arms are tired. My heart so open even the fractures are doorways. I love you. Out there in the world. I love you. Don’t despair. Don’t despair. I love you. You are not alone.