Wish You Were Here

Only last weekend we were walking a beautiful beach with our friend Garry.  We pitched a tent in his backyard by the deck.  Set up chairs, a grill and hung a hammock.  Up early in the morning the three of us walked the few blocks to a local coffee shop where we snacked and drank delicious espresso-spiked coffees. Then to the water where we walked and talked and walked some more.  Seagulls and sand.  Small children running in and out of the surf were the only ones bold enough to brave the still chilly water.

Then back to our friend's little cottage for another snack and a visit with  ginger and white striped Sonny Boy.  After that lovely interlude it was back to the beach for more walking and talking.  This was how the visit went.  Leisurely walks back and forth to the beach.  Good food cooked on the grill.  Music drifting through the house.  Lots of laughing.  Some of the talk as serious as we needed it to be.

I thought of the recent tragedy in Afghanistan during this perfect visit.  Perfect in part because of the ease and peace surrounding us.  No one with a gun to threaten us.  No drones flying above us. Families walking a marathon were the big deal of the day.  Not so for little Zahra, daughter of Abdul Hamid or the small and lovely Nazia.

I'm glad to know some of these children's names.  When I was walking the beach I wished they could have been with the other children running in and out of the waves, screeching in mock fear at the gulls when they flew too close.  I wished they could have enjoyed, as we did, the silly pleasure of toasting marshmallows on the end of a stick over an open fire.

I'm far far removed from the thought of what a solution to the madness of our day may be. The point seems to have become to live through it as best we can.  To have our day in the sun because we still can.  But to not forget these murdered children and their families. And to wish they could have been instead on a lovely beach. It isn't much.  Right now it's the best I can do.  To remember them and to wish with all my heart it could have been otherwise.