Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Even the Quiet

The little beach I walked on looked the same as it did twenty years earlier: same rocks, same sand, same barnacles, same broken clam shells. The water, the spit, the island, the dock--all the same. Even the quiet had not changed.

She read in her car while I walked and remembered boats and fish and Indians and spreading wakes in moonlight. Her mother taught her noblesse oblige, but when the destroyers attacked our community it was us and not them who saved it from destruction.

She knew it was wrong to sit idly by while her own mother was defamed, and summoned her peers to protect her family honor. Yet, as an untested beneficiary of wealth and status, she was untrained and unprepared and failed the community when called on, herself.

She remembered me from when I once cut firewood for her mother and made repairs to the family home. She was aware that I had come through many times over the years when she'd gone silently about her business.

As the ferry approached and she looked up from her newspaper, she smiled and said hi. I asked if she was going over for the weekend.


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