There was a beautiful sunrise as Cindy and I set out on our ride
this morning. Now that we leave at 6 a.m. instead of 5--and the days are getting
longer--we ride in the daylight more than in the dark.
The birds are awake too. The crows are making a horrible racket and flying hither and
yon, trying to decide which tree they're going to stake out for the day. The Canada geese
are leaving the pond where they spent the night and flying off in pairs to do whatever it
is that Canada geese do during the day. As we pass by the pond, there is a lot of honking,
presumably the geese warming up for their day's adventures.
As we ride past the fields at the university there is a student with his three dogs.
They are running together and having a marvelous time. Off in the distance I can just make
out the blossoming trees that I want to get out and photograph before the blossoms are
On campus, the smell of tomato sauce comes wafting from the direction of the
cafeteria--I guess there is spaghetti on the menu for lunch. Students are beginning to
stagger toward early morning classes.
Downtown, the garbage men are finishing up their collections and the streets have been
swept. Commuters are starting to make their way toward the freeway.
Riding down F Street, we pass under a canopy of blossoms. Trees line both sides of the
street and are covered in fluffy white blossoms. I love this time of year. The street only
stays like that for about 2 weeks, but it's a beautiful two weeks.
I had made coffee before I left, so when I entered the house, the aroma of French Roast
hit my nostrils and it was a warm, comforting smell. I fixed myself a bowl of Fiber One
with a bit of yogurt added to it, poured myself a mug of coffee and sat down at the
The TV was on. Katie and Matt were looking grim. Then they cut away to Tom Brokaw,
explaining what was about to happen in the United Nations chamber.
Next thing I knew, I was hearing the translation of the speech by the Russian
ambassador, calling for time--study--another chance...
I remembered the 50's, when I was a kid. We were afraid of the Russians then. I was
certain they would torture me by dunking me in scalding water and then in freezing water
(I don't know where I got that idea), so I practiced taking a bath as hot as I could stand
and as cold and I could stand. I wanted to be ready. We had drills where we hid under our
desks in case of a bomb attack.
Now here was this nice man from Russia pleading for the United States to go slow, to
give the inspections time to work.
"He tried to kill my Dad."
I could almost picture him standing in the White House stamping his foot. He tried to
kill Dad and by God we're gonna get him.
I remembered the look on the faces of the young soldiers who have been interviewed
lately, the ones so eager to take their new war toys out and play with them.
I thought of the mothers standing in some airport, waiting for the body bags to arrive.
Colin Powell gave his rebuttal. Tried to convince everybody that time was of the
essence. Would it have been so urgent if there had been no 9/11--an event nobody has
conclusively tied to Saddam Hussein? Would we be rushing in so eagerly? Or was that the
excuse we were waiting for.
I remembered Powell being interviewed lately, explaining how it was not economically
advisable to keep a large military force on foreign shores if they weren't actively
engaged in battle. I couldn't understand that one. Were we going into war because it was
cheaper than not going to war?
He tried to kill my Dad.
Now it was the French ambassador's turn. He talked of the hopeful signs, he talked
about opening a Pandora's box that could never be closed again. He asked why we couldn't
He tried to kill my Dad.
I went to the office. The trees in the parking lot were ablaze with pink blossoms, and
the sky a deep blue with fluffy white clouds. A young mother walked by, carrying her child
in her arms. I thought of the young mothers in Baghdad carrying their children to shelters
as bombs fell.
Collateral damage. That's what they call killing mothers and children. So politically
correct. So distanced from the reality.
I got in the car to drive to Cindy's office for my dental appointment. There was a tape
in the player and Steve was singing one of his songs about living with AIDS. "I'm
living one new hell after another," he sang. I thought it was the perfect song for
A flock of birds flew in lazy circles over the field opposite Cindy's office. The day
was so beautiful.
Please, Mr. President--go slow. It's too beautiful a day to start a war.