Monday, February 18, 2013


A good part of my early grade school years were spent in a small Minneapolis bungalow home at the end of a city road of such homes that ran into a blacktop playground, and an open field.  It was an idyllic place I thought, and summer-winter we four kids were long hours outside {giving some peace to our mother}.  Yet we did spend a fair amount of time in the cement-floored basement, two center support polls, couch in between them facing a black & white TV on the far cinder block wall {where I’d watched my first politics, something about Senator Estes Kefauver and I Like Ike}.

At night a dream would sometimes come, confining me in that basement with a grey ghost-like, no more than an floating sheet--but in fast pursuit of me in what was usually my round-and-round the polls roller skates path.  It would then become a desperate dash to avoid doom.  Each time round it gained.  How could I be moving so incredibly slow and stiff?  Finally I’d dive into the space under the stairs, and curl myself as small as I could.  This was no safety—there was the hot-cold vibrating assurance that the specter would soon be upon me. 

hen I’d remember at last minute the only escape possible.  Grabbing both eyelids firmly I’d pull them up.  Not instantaneously, but like scales falling from before me, I’d see the dark threat dissolve.  Eyes wide open I’d be awake, fear subsiding, my surroundings focused in as they were really supposed to be—the truth I expected, even though just the faint images of my darkened bedroom.  My heart and breathing settled back again to normal, and gradually I’d go back to sleep—somehow not bad-dreaming again that night.
This specific nightmare re-appeared a number of times.  Eyelid evasive action continued to work—but not until after a desperate chase, and finally cornered.  Would that the specter of politics and death, still plaguing our cities and countries across the globe, could be so abruptly vanquished.  Yet, only a child's solution.

{written in the middle of a January 2013 near-sleepless night}
Illumination by Kathy Brahney


 Photo by Autumn Lopez
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see through a glass darkly; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  I Cor 13:11-12

The short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula Le Guin tells of the misery of one confined abused child as the necessary requirement for the happy lives of all the rest in a great, informed bountiful country.  Our adult task is to discern where those that walk away are walking towards, and how to get there.

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