Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GMOs and Genocide


That's quite a title. Sorry. Hope I haven't depressed you already.

Last night, Tad was at the Brewer game (which went 14 innings, incidentally) and I was on the couch finishing a novel that I'm reading called The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.

(Here I would say "spoiler alert" but the word 'spoiler' seems a bit trite for this epically romantic and crushing tragedy, but having said that, If are reading or planning on reading this book, I will be giving away a bit of the premise that unfolds itself toward the end.)

The novel, in short is a historical work of fiction that is set during World War I, in the little known Armenian Genocide.  It is also a love story.  What got me rattled (and is sure to haunt me for days or weeks--which is why I usually read lighter, shallower literature) is this:  The story is of Elizabeth, a Bostonian who goes to Aleppo help out with the victims of this horrible crime. There she meets Armen, an Armenian engineer who was separated from his wife and baby daughter and believes them both to be dead.  He and Elizabeth fall in love.  He comes alive again after his own tragedy.  Over the span of the novel, he leaves to fight in the war and then again returns.  What we find out is that his wife Karine is still alive struggling under the weight of her own loss, and she is looking for him.  But she is too late.  She commits suicide near the novel's end after finding Armen and Elizabeth in a joyful embrace when they finally come together again.  There is much, much more to the story. But the thought of her still alive and love and what it all means was overpowering to me.

So, I got on Facebook.  That should unrattle me, right?

And I click on a post by a friend about the GMOs every one's talking about and I think about capitalism and chemicals.  I think about my children and their nutrition and cancer and death and loss and I am back to the world of Armen and Elizabeth somehow in all this.

So I see, on the TV, that the Brewers have gone into extra innings and I can no longer wait up for Tad and I go to bed.  And I think about the loss of love and how that would feel.  And my mind is off.  And suddenly I'm inadvertently imagining losing Tad and when I hear distant sirens I imagine them at Miller Park, some tragedy occurring there....  And I shake the thoughts off but they return as I feel myself falling closer to sleep.  As I fall asleep I absently imagine a police officer coming to the door bearing horrible news.... 

I wake up with a start and hear the front door.  It sounds like knocking.  I tear out of bed and run to the door and there is Tad.  My heart is pounding and I know I look panicked.  He grabs me. 
"I'm sorry. That door is so loud. It's okay. I'm home."
And I feel my pulse slow down with his arms around me and I breathe.
"I know how that feels. I'm sorry."  He says. "I'm here."

I know I know nothing of war and of genocide. And I know I am an extremely privileged person, in my life and my family and my neighborhood and my experience and all of it.  But the love I have for Tad and for my kids (as is the love that you have for your own I am certain) is as wide as the world. And sometimes just the thought of that being taken is terrifying. So I'll buy healthy foods for my family and do my research and hope hope hope for the best.  Because there is hope. And there is spring. And there are people upon people who care for others everywhere and do their best to live that way.

And the next novel I read will likely be lighter.

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