Saturday, July 16, 2005

where does the time go?

My mother always used to put a phrase like "I don't know where the time goes" in her letters; my father always refered to the weather, habit from his years as a pilot. I find I do both. And no, in the heat of this day, I don't know where the time goes. Very disturbing news on Riverbend's blog linking to Raed's blog; Khalid is now in his 6th day in jail somewhere in Iraq. I read this family's postings, and Riverbend's, and before that their friend Salam Pax obsessively from the first moment I spotted them: internal truths from the country my country is insanely bombing, attacking, destroying.
Today at the bookstore we had soup. Once a month or so a nice man who works at a local market makes a big pot of soup and brings it over. I set up a table, get bowls and spoons, and send word out to the street: come on in, anyone who is hungry. In the cold months it is especially good to be able to offer hot soup. Today it did seem a little odd--the temperature is climbing into triple digits--but nonetheless a number of people I know and many wanderers new to town or passing through got word and came in for soup and a little respite.
Last night I was walking one of my dogs very late at night when I came across a young boy huddled at a corner out of the light. He didn't look much older than 14 or 15. Champ, the injured pitbull (there's a story in itself), nuzzled up to the kid, who seemed pleased. But though it is hot by daylight it still gets awfully cold by night. "Ma'am, you don't maybe have a blanket?" he asked. I went back to get a sleeping bag and bring it to him. He said he was trying to get to a city about 200 miles south of here. I always wonder why no one seems to take much note of these kids, the lost children. He looked so thin, and so tired. I gave him a little bag of food with the sleeping bag, wished him well and safe, told him to come to me if he was still around today. But he hasn't, and no one has encountered him. Maybe he got a safe ride south.
One of the men who came to eat some soup this morning remarked "you have tears just behind your eyes; you have seen so much suffering" . You're a perceptive one, I said. He is on a bike journey, healing from time in the war, a veteran who saw far too much suffering himself. I told him the way to the best swimming hole, a hidden spot on the river where the cliffs come down, the hawks fly, and the water, even in the middle of summer, runs clear and deep.
But now, I keep thinking of Khalid.


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