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  • I am on a plane, my eyes fixed on the window, focused on the stunning sky that reaches to forever. I can dream in this space, untangle the knots, forget what needs forgetting. But after a while I make myself look down and keep looking down at a tableau of devastation.

    No, this is not Syria, not Afghanistan, not Somalia. This is not the border between Mexico and the United States, between Israel and Gaza. These are not the scars left by bombs and fear and hatred--it’s not that sort of killing field. And no, I cannot see signs of smaller assaults within families and communities, horrendous acts of violence on an intimate scale.

    I suppose, if I were a different person, I would look down at the landscape stretching from Chicago to New England and admire it: the quilting of farm and road, that tiny train way down there, even those toy buildings like drips from horizon to horizon, the circular tanks and towers and blacktop squares. I’d see pretty patterns and comforting reminders of human community, love and even hope.

    But I’m not that person.

    I see beneath me the tattooed Earth unfolding mile by mile, studded and pierced, blistered and shaved, raw and bleeding, scruffs of wild growth sprouting here and there. You could go mad trying to fathom the extent of the destruction.

    I want to lose myself back in the clouds, sink into that impossible blue. Instead I make myself stare out at the Earth’s undoing. I make myself look through my reflection, into my own duplicity.

    It's hyprocrisy to be flailing here-- thoughts and words, arms and legs-- railing about Manifest Destiny and greed and violence against Nature while I feed the insatiable maw of progress with merciless, impassive complicity as I sit on this plane, drink this coffee, eat this snack, turn away from this window and write on this computer.
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