Sometimes, one is all you get. One chance. One choice.
Last night, for the first time, I saw one meteor streaking across a sky that was just beginning to cloud over. We stood outside in the dark, with my mom leaning against me so that she could look upward without toppling over. But I was the only one who saw it. I did. I really did. I made a wish. One wish on one shooting star.
All day long today, what we believed was a lone female hummingbird (females have a greenish color; males have the ruby throat) glutted herself at the feeder. We wondered how one little creature could be so continuously ravenous. Did she have an eating disorder? And then, as we watched out the window while we ate dinner, suddenly there were three female hummingbirds, all the same size and coloration. They buzzed around each other and the feeder, engaged in whatever hummingdances hummingbirds do. My mother insisted that they were fighting over the food in the feeder — which didn’t seem likely to me, since the feeder has four access holes.
So, to me, they were Three Sisters, three hummingbird sisters dancing their pleasure and thanks for their feast on the other side of our window.
Sometime in the last week or so, I’ve developed a “floater” in my right eye. It hovers around my peripheral vision — a tiny, tiny black and white image that looks an awful like a tiny, tiny hummingbird. Yes, indeed, a hummingbird.
Sometimes, you only get one. One son. One daughter. One son-in-law. One grandchild. And sometimes you get a one-in-a-million son-in-law who bakes a blueberry pie with the berries picked by his one little son.
Sometimes, when you only have one, and he is sent off to be killed in a war without reason, without purpose, without WMD, you become so angry, so betrayed, so brave, that you dare to stand up, stand out, speak out, cry out. Shout. SHOUT! Praying all the while that your pain will break through the plague of public denial.
Cindy challenges Bush to level with her: “You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don’t tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.”
When questioned about the war, Bush invokes his mantra of September 11. “Yeah, but were any of those people in Iraq?” Cindy asks. “And the people who flew those planes into the Trade Center, were they from Iraq?”
“I don’t believe [Bush’s] phony excuses for the war,” Cindy told a CBS reporter. “I want him to tell me why my son died.” She said, “If he gave the real answer, people in this country would be outraged – if he told people it was to make his buddies rich, that it was about oil.”
And this, from here:
During my many years as a writer, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people. But talking with Cindy Sheehan this morning was unlike any conversation I’ve ever had. Even though we were talking via cell phone – and had a crummy, staticky connection at that – her authenticity and passion reached through the receiver and both touched my heart and punched me in the gut.
She spoke with a combination of utter determination, unassailable integrity, fearlessness, and the peace of someone who knows that their cause is just. Her commitment was palpable – and infectious. It reminded me an old quote about the great Greek orators: “When Pericles spoke, the people said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march!'”
That’s the feeling I got from this former Catholic youth minister. She of the floppy hat and the six foot frame (though she’s standing even taller than that these days). A woman driven by faith and conviction who used to think that one person couldn’t make a difference and is learning otherwise. Her humanity stands in stark contrast to the inhumanity of those who refuse to admit their mistakes and continue to send our young men and women to die in Iraq.
So, while the usual idiots begin their expected attacks on Sheehan, she responds the way one would expect.
And check out the website of the Gold Star Families for Peace.