It’s 10 o’clock in the morning here in California. Cumulus clouds float overhead in the cerulean sky like giant dollops of whipped cream on blue raspberry Jell-o. On top of the mountains across the valley, the clouds look like they’re on the wrong end of an ice cream cone. The highest peak, Mt. Baldy, breaks through this mass of clouds; her top is covered in blinding white snow. It is so stunningly beautiful in contrast to the green of the trees that, from my deck, frame the mountains, I fall to my knees and utter a prayer of gratitude to our Earth Mother.
And when I return inside, I learn of yet another school shooting, and at least 18 children and 9 adults are confirmed dead.
My prayer of gratitude vanishes, replaced with tears of anguish.
When I look at my beloved mountains, and see such amazing beauty, it is hard to imagine anything ugly in the world. At least, for a few moments I am able to convince myself of that.
Eighteen children. Dead. Innocents every one. Nine adults. Dead. There to make sure children get an education, helping to improve their lives. Good people, undoubtedly.
I cannot wrap my mind around such ugliness. I cannot imagine the anguish of mothers and fathers rushing to this school, praying their child is all right, the crushing horror of learning they are not.
Tears flow more freely now, like the rivulet of water streaming off our hillside, making its way to the valley floor below.
Outside, I cry over this rivulet of water. My tears join their raindrop sisters, rushing, always rushing, down the hill. Oblivious to what is happening elsewhere in the country, oblivious to death, to the rivers of blood, to the agonizing wails of pain and grief.
The ravens are chattering. Acorn woodpeckers echo their wacka wacka wacka through the trees. Even the mockingbirds are singing their chaotic song. Everything is green, because unlike so much of the rest of the country where winter is either the beige of a fallow landscape or white with a blanket of snow, here in LA winter is the season of vibrant, living green.
The green of the living.
I stand over the rivulet of rain, now its own rivulet of grief, and watch as the rainwater envelops my tears. My tears become the rain; the rain becomes my tears.
Eighteen children dead. Nine adults. Their river runs red.