Friday, December 14, 2012

Holden Caulfield Days to Come

More than Columbine, fewer than Virginia Tech. Once again the national mind and heart are riddled with unspeakable statistics, this time most of them school children under ten.

All other anxieties disappear—-the fiscal cliff, Middle East violence, even holy days of human caring—-into the maw of madness always waiting under life’s surface to engulf us all. The President weeps, as do we all.

This time it strikes pastoral Newtown Ct., a few miles from where I live out my own days, decades longer than those granted most of today’s victims, not far from where my own grandchildren attend high school.

How numb will we all be and for how long over all those sacrificed in this new horror, how mesmerized by the details, how overwhelmed by our own helplessness?

Inevitably, facts will emerge, tears will be shed at memorials, grief will give way to outrage and fade again into resignation about controlling the weapons that struck us all today,

As the familiar rituals start, there is no consolation. For these days and hours, we can only be dazed by echoes of Holden Caulfield’s Catcher in the Rye:

“I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.”

This weekend we are all Holden Caulfields, helpless in our inconsolable shock and grief.

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