(I wrote this after an evening walk sometime in April.)
The wind pushes at my back as it does the white blossoms from the early bloomed tree.
They scatter around and in that moment, as the petals are seemingly suspended in the air – defying gravity or utilizing their lift – I am transported thru time and imagine the ashes of Auschwitz and whether the neighboring inhabitants knew the source of the grey flakes. If they knew, what masterful mismanagement of humanity to ignore the systemic erasure of groups of people – disabled, gays, jews, allies… Those who learned of the atrocities after the ashen prisons were shut down – for I refuse to call them camps. Camps are for vacationing, fishing, and smores, not gas chambered showers, pits of bodies, and forced famine – what actions did the late learners engage in? In what ways did they make sense of willful ignorance? How did the silent alleviate the pangs of complicity? Could they ever see dandelion seeds float in the breeze the same way? What benign experiences and serene gifts of Nature were never the same? And if it was such for the complicit, how did family members who lived through the vapid prisons process such reminders and taunting? Or did the grey flakes become the serene petals in the breeze as a means of managing the horrors in real time?
It’s a simple reminder of our past – white petals floating on air – and I wonder what our reminders will be when we finally recognize our own complicity in a system of inequality where the status quo is as second-nature to most – at least for some matter – as clamping your eye shut when debris finds its way past the lashes.