Monday, February 28, 2022

No reason for it.

Ukraine was invaded around the same time I streamed Kenneth Branagh's film Belfast. Conflation tends toward error, but whatever fusion and alchemy I experienced continues to weigh on my heart and linger. Perhaps too, as a Gen Xer, Russian aggression feels a bit triggering, and absolutely deja vu. 

Set in 1969, the autobiographical film emphasizes Branagh's most formative "fork in the road" when his Protestant family grapples with deciding whether to stay in an increasingly dangerous and violent Northern Irelandthe only home they have ever knownor escape to Britain. Told from the perspective of Buddy, a composite of Branagh's childhood perspective, the film is like reexperiencing innocence lost. Pure time-travel, the story plots his early life in childhood fragments and memories and each squeezes the heart. It evoked my own parents and grandparents, young and vibrant againalso my childhood traditions, friends, and first crushes; it illustrated well that childhood confusion we all experience when the people we want to trust most make decisions, or are forced to make decisions, that will reverberate in our lives in expected and unexpected ways, forever. It is a universal story, told and retold. I was rapt. 

Likewise, I was glued to breaking news reports in Eastern Europe; I imagined those children in Ukraine, their slow-motion escape toward the border with Poland, compelled by fear, confusion, anger, disillusionment, many leaving their fathers behind. There is no reason for it. 

History has revealed that Northern Ireland's "troubles" are no longer so troubling. But what will history say about Ukraine and Russia, and the selfish ideology that enabled a conflict currently trending as WW3? No matter what the books written about this someday say, I have to ask again, when will we ever learn from history? Why must we repeat it? And what will our children remember? 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Her Words

I have been waiting for her words. They're here! Ten months old now, my granddaughter says, "Dada" & "Kitty" and perhaps a few other things too.

She also loves to point us toward whatever she is interested in: the artwork above the kitchen table, creatures within the book, her nightlight bunny, the window. Her basic receptive ASL is developing too: all done makes her laugh, and likely this is why she verbalized kitty so early. I think her cat is impressed too. 

Dear friends, before we have words (and after), our hands are voices too. Use them to love. 

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