A woman, visibly somewhere in her golden years, came out of the supermarket pushing a cart full of empty boxes-the sort of boxes you gather when you are downsizing; planning a move away from home to a newer but smaller home, or even a golden years move to the home of a child who has graciously made you welcome in his or her home; the kinds of boxes you fill up with stuff accumulated throughout a whole life's journey, before sending them on their own journey to the nearest Salvation Army, homeless shelter, or thrift shop of choice- because your life is now, somehow, changing.
Those were the thoughts sparked in my mind on a recent morning by the woman with the empty cardboard boxes, pushing her cart past our parked SUV, where I sat waiting for my husband who had gone in to the supermarket for a few staples for his breakfast. Who would be there now to wipe the tears, give comfort or hope, who would....? Those were, indeed, the thoughts I was entertaining when, a younger woman, possibly a daughter, or a daughter-in-law, a neighbor, or an otherwise younger friend, came out of the supermarket, trailing, a short distance behind the elder woman, grocery bag in hand, more empty cardboard boxes in her cart.
She is not going to go home, all alone, to a house recently emptied by the passing of a life's partner, or by his placement in an assisted living facility or nursing home after all, I thought, of the older woman in her golden years. She will at least have a younger hand accompanying her in the beginning of, whatever journey these empty boxes mean for her at this time of her life. The thought that there was a younger life around her, ready to help her at a time when she may be needing help was comforting to me.
As the two women faded from my field of vision my thoughts jumped to Ricardo Brown, a Spanish television commentator (pundit), who, on a recent broadcast interrupted Raul Martinez, the former Mayor of Hialeah, when Martinez pondered what might Bush's (nombrete) "Pet Name" for Alberto Gonzalez be, since Bush, Martinez said, rarely calls people by their proper names and prefers to call them by the "Pet Name" Bush gives them. Martinez' use of the word, "nombrete", a derogatory form of "Pet Name", immediately compelled Brown to interrupt Martinez, saying that Bush does not call people by a "Pet Name" or "nombrete", but by a, "nickname", rescuing, in this way, Alberto Gonzalez from Martinez' intended put down. Brown then proceeded to praise Alberto Gonzalez "as the grandchild of an illegal immigrant who overcame insurmountable obstacles," to get to where he is today. Ricardo Brown is a Cuban version of Rush Limbaugh. His words in support of Bush no matter what and his distortions of truth and reality are like uncomfortable jolts of electricity which have more than once caused me to change the channel as they did in this particular occasion.
My thoughts then jumped to, A Rumor of Angels, and to Vanessa Redgrave in her role as Maddy Bennett, the eccentric who reaches out to Trevor Morgan in his role as 12 year old James Neubauer who is in need of grieving the death of his mother two years earlier, to the role she plays in helping him let his grieve come rushing out and to the bond that develops between them.
This in turn caused me to pause and think about my own life, perhaps because my own mother died when I was 13 years old; perhaps because of the presence of many Maddy Bennetts in my own life who taught me that the road towards truth always takes an inner path based on outside facts. I thought of the many Maddy Bennetts, or of the many Michael Bs, or Mary Ss, or.... who have been so awe inspiring, comforting or otherwise life transforming in my own journey.
I thought of the bond between people, and truth, and honesty and goodness and, I wondered, who, if anyone, had been there to help any of the cast of characters in the White House running our government today, in their growing up and journey towards maturity. I wondered who had been there to provide guidance, or inspiration, or encouragement, or comfort or a journey inwards towards truth for any of the cast of characters in the Bush administration... and the plain truth is that, as far as my eyes can see, no one seems to have been there to provide these very basic elements of structure for a journey into honesty and maturity for anyone of the cast of characters in the Bush Administration, current white house occupiers, or appointed officials who have made a recent appearance into one or another congress oversight committee.
I thought of Alberto Gonzalez and his grandfather and I thought of either man as if standing on either side of a river where Gonzalez stood on the finite shore of the river and the grandfather on the infinity shore of said river. I wondered how he would explain to his grandfather all of the lying he seems to have done, all of the questions he cannot answer on his role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. I wondered whether he had trampled on any of his grandfather's family values and just what kind of family values did his grandfather have. I wondered if in order to make it to where he is standing, Gonzalez' journey was forged with lies as his stepping stones and I wondered too, if those had been the stepping stones of the Gonzalez's family in their journey through this side of the Rio Grande, the family values handed over to him, the get-ahead-no-matter-what sort of value which also encapsulates the Bush family values in their mantra, "always play to win but always pretend never to want to win".
Was there, ever, a Maddy Bennett in Alberto Gonzalez' life, or in George W. Bush's, or in any of Bush's appointed officials? Was there ever a teacher? A loved one? Anyone who may have helped them to pause, take a look back, understand pain, not run away from grieve-whatever grieve, as their journey went forward? Was there ever anyone who might have helped either man, Bush or Gonzalez, or anyone else in the White House, or connected to the White House today, to learn from mistakes? Anyone who might have inspired them to hold truth as a most valued treasure?
Was there anyone who might have helped Alberto Gonzalez, or George W. Bush, or any of Bush's appointed officials to look into the delicate nature of the blooming flower of truth?
It appears not to be the case... I thought of tears and regrets and of this haiku I wrote a long time ago:
On barren land
Flower patch is being born.