We were watching the six o’clock news last night trying to decide what we were going to do about dinner. Normally I would have been 10 miles into a 30 mile bicycle ride by this time on a Thursday night but it was hot, 97 degrees, to damn hot. Sitting in our den, protected from the heat by our Trane Comfort Machine with a very cold Left Hand Milk Stout seemed like a much better plan. Just another calm, quiet, boring day in hot suburbia.
At 6:11 pm Lester Holt interrupted the local broadcast, a celebration, a truck and death in Nice, France.
I have never been to France but it is the epicenter of my cycling world, the Tour de France, Paris–Nice, stage races that traverse through beautiful landscapes, quaint villages over the course of weeks on my television. Each year I proclaim that I need to ride my bicycle on this sacred ground before I leave this world. These were my images of France, cobbled streets, sunflowers, green pastures, baguette, red wine, the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower….these were my images.
Over the course of the last few months the images of France have changed for everyone. Our new pictures are of terror, fear and death, images captured on the faces of humans, humans no different from you or I.
I have grown tired of asking why. The group or faction creating all of this mayhem keeps pushing, pushing from all points, begging for a reaction. My first reaction; wipe them off the face of the earth, send them to their maker to be judged sooner rather than later. But I know this isn’t the answer. Whatever seed they are growing, whatever cause they are defending, eliminating more humans will not solve the problem and sadly the vast majority of the world has no idea what they perceive the problem to be or what it is they are defending.
I am afraid this conflict, this war will be generational, headlines my children will be reading for years to come. Religious conflicts are like that, read your history books, the battle is personal, death the ultimate honor. France may seem a world away from my little slice of domestic bliss, but it’s not, it is right in front me as I watch my heroes pedal their bicycles in the countryside of a nation asking why once more.
Hope Abides – by Sri Chinmoy Ghose
Hope abides; therefore I abide.
Countless frustrations have not cowed me.
I am still alive, vibrant with life.
The black cloud will disappear,
The morning sun will appear once again
In all its supernal glory.