Reality?

I can remember the first time I thought about war. I mean really thought about war. The hardest thing for me to understand was why? Why fight? I must have been about nine years old. It was summer, and I was sitting in my backyard, inside a wheelbarrow. On my chest my kitten was sleeping. The sunshine was warm and a gentle breeze was stirring the leaves of the cottonwood trees that towered over me. Fluffy white puffs of clouds sailed overhead. I was outside alone. Where we lived a few miles from town, there was not a lot of traffic. For the moment it was still and quiet.A meadowlark sang and broke the silence. It seemed to me then that there must be some kind of madness that stirred people up to actually fight to death on such a grand scale as country against country. I mean, who would want to take the tranquility I was feeling from anyone else in the world? Who had the right?I could reach out and touch the softness of my gray colored kitten. She purred as I stroked her. The soft fur felt delicious and soothing. Had the grownups forgotten such a delight, I wondered? The ground was being heated by the sunshine and my bare toes sank in the soft, warm dirt. Why wear army boots when you could feel nature between your toes?I had often played the game of war. Or rather, we, as children, played a game we called ‘war’. I even had a plastic army green helmet somewhere. I had toy guns and I had joined in eagerly as we waited in hiding for the enemy. We jumped out yelling and brandishing our make-believe weapons. Shouts of ‘you’re dead!’ were often heard. But who could really do such a thing? I couldn’t, I decided. I couldn’t intentionally tear someone away from the joy of just sitting in the sunshine. That was my decision then.While a truck drove by, making all the sounds of rushing wind and lots of tires rolling on asphalt I rubbed my sleepy eyes. It was hard to imagine that people would intentionally tear things up that others had worked so hard to build. I looked at our house. It was a grand old farmhouse. It filled up two stories with rooms and then had a large basement underneath. Half the basement my father used to work on his radios and electrical experiments. The other half was reserved for us kids. We played games, rode our bikes in the winter and roller-skated down there. Why would someone want to tear it up? I shook my head. I didn’t know.A butterfly danced by on fluttering wings. I watched it skit from flower to flower among those my mother had planted in her garden. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The colors of the flowers mixed with the butterfly wings as it darted among different shades of brown and green. Why would we destroy such beauty? I could sense an order to my world. The early summer sun would soon be overhead as it spun around my yard. The lengthening shadows would give way to nighttime and I would climb into my comfortable bed. I would struggle to fall asleep as my feet itched from going barefoot. I would dream of pleasant things and then struggle to awake to another day. Perhaps I would be wiser as well as older.Right then I couldn’t understand why people would hurt each other. I decided that when I was a man I would be able to comprehend questions that my nine-year-old mind couldn’t. But now, as I look out the window and see trees waving in the wind, I confess that my wisdom has not grown enough. No, I’m not smart enough yet to understand why people hurt each other. I only know that we do

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *