Monday, January 10, 2011

We can only imagine

Surveying the west Omaha landscape on a snowy Sunday night, one could contemplate the quiet, feel the biting January chill and mistake the world for one at peace.

One might imagine his fellow Americans -- all of them -- gazing at the powdery comforter pulled over a manicured suburban scene, grateful for the beauty of it all.

One might get lost in the nature-imposed tranquility of such a night and imagine that an anger-crazed teenager hadn't, just a few days ago, shot and killed his assistant principal.

Hadn't shot and wounded his principal.

Hadn't shot at and missed a custodian as he fled the scene of the crime -- a high school just miles away from this peaceful sight.

Lost in a gentle snowfall, engulfed in the soft glow of a leaden January sky, one's thoughts have difficulty embracing the notion of an anger so intense, so soul-deadening, so hope-destroying it would demand that a young man jam a Glock up against his own head, then pull the trigger in a bid for oneness with the abyss.

TAKING IN this wintry vista, one struggles with the vision of a paranoiac snapping an ammo clip into another handgun, in another American city far away, then taking aim at a congresswoman, then pulling the trigger, authorities say. Pulling it again, and again, and again, we hear -- like some sort of self-appointed destroyer of entire worlds.

Appearances can deceive. We are tempted to think the falling snow might somehow forever bury -- mystically obliterate -- the blight upon our land. That the ugliness within us might not survive the beauty without.

Eventually, though, the snow clouds exhaust themselves. Eventually, the light shines upon the illusion and melts it away.

Eventually, we must deal -- Might deal?
Can we deal? -- with the muck and the grime.


Maybe we'll just close our eyes, trying not to notice the stink of that which molders around us. And we'll wait for the next snowfall . . . for the next blessed illusion.

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