Utoya

July 24th, 2011

I’m back to where I was in March after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, searching for words but this is so much harder. This isn’t a natural disaster, this isn’t some horrible thing that happened, this is a horrible thing that was perpetrated. Committed. Chosen. Planned. Done. A human action, a human choice. It’s inexplicable and yet here I sit banging words together like rocks hoping to light some spark of understanding.

There is no understanding and there are no words. All I can think of is something I read after Leiby Kletzky was killed: we live in a fallen world. Most people are basically decent, but we live in a fallen world. Is that all there is then, by way of comfort? That we live in a fallen world but that most of us, most of us, do our part to hold up our corner of it? It is all we can do and yet it’s never enough, is it; the world remains fallen, remains imperfect, and those shining young people remain dead and it remains inexplicable and words fail, fail, and fail again. It’s all such cold comfort.

In March, as radiation leaked from reactors, there were songbirds outside my window. Today, as divers search the waters around Utoya Island for the bodies of those still unaccounted for, there is my dill plant being devoured by ten caterpillars and if we’re lucky half of them will become butterflies. The world forces itself upon me. Even today the fallen world forces its small beauties upon me and I accept them with both greed and guilt but very little resembling grace.

There is no grace in this. There are no words for this. All I can come up with is butterflies. It will have to be enough for today but surely it is not.


2 Responses to “Utoya”

  1. Claudia on July 26, 2011 6:37 pm

    It’s filled the news here of course, and it’s been a series of shocks from the start. Today I heard his version of a manifesto. Ugh.

  2. Jennifer on July 27, 2011 4:11 pm

    I’m staying away from the manifesto. I can probably guess….

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