Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life Goes On

Since I’m not much for posting BREAKING or DEVELOPING… news, I’ll turn that over to the sites that keep you up to the minute with live feeds of things like the shooting in Colorado and the press conferences and the reactions from people like presidents and candidates and just about anyone else they can get a microphone near.

The best I can do is just listen and process. Yesterday was a day of sadness remembered, history remembered, friends honored, and new life welcomed. Time, tide, and Blogger waits for no man, and while we can stop and speculate about the motives, react to the outbursts of anger, shame, horror and shake our head at some of the primal screams masquerading as considered wisdom, life goes on whether we want it to or not.

Events like this follow a script that is as inviolable as if it was carved in stone. First the initial news, the snippets as we gather the basic information and learn about the place where it happened; perhaps even recall a time when we might have been there (“Oh, I know where Aurora/Tucson/Virginia Tech is…”). Then, as the news pours in, we try to reduce it to numbers — how many dead, how many wounded — then down to one — have they caught the guy? (It’s always “the guy,” regardless of gender. Men, unfortunately, seem to have cornered the market on massacres.) Then come the eyewitness accounts, the police silence, the press conferences, the morning after, the first speculations on motive, and then, finally, a lot of chin-stroking on What It Means to us as a society, how can we change our way of looking at the laws — or should we? — and endless cable TV debates among the absolute strangers. Then comes the personal stories of the victims, followed by interviews with their family, cameras and strangers poking into their lives and their Twitter feeds in order to put a real face on the numbers and the numbness. Then comes the vigils, the candles, the makeshift tributes, the funerals, the emptiness, and at the end of the day the loneliness of the left behind and the wounded.

Through it all, life goes on. There are bills to pay, pets to walk, work to go to, days to plan, the little things to think about. We go on by going on, none of us knowing if it will suddenly change or come to an end with an abrupt burst or a slow fading away. But it does go on. That is its miracle.