Thursday, July 26, 2012

Canal Thinking

The waters of canals run to their own soft lives. I just got back from a long walk along the Oxford canal path heading out to Jericho and the ever longed for Port Meadow gleaming so cool on these hot days. The barges and their inhabitants had come to life after the long rain weeks; resident dogs lounged on the grass banks with their water dishes within reach, two women sat at opposite ends of their shared home, reading their books on little seats fore and aft, paperback curled back in their hands for closer absorption; I thought how lovely it is to see people reading by a quiet canal, a waterway all hung in weeping willows  happy to have their feet so close to wetness; wild flowers sparkling along the banks, every one observing the barge dwellers right to privacy, even the ducks, cleaning themselves on the sunny banks, throwing off white puffs of down. For the first time, I saw the fish that make this waterway home--slim long fellows darting quickly, coming to the surface for something only they can understand. I wonder if sometimes they do not find themselves washed out through the weir into the stream that runs parallel, catching the canal's run off, wondering at a new kind of current.

New currents--this is what I thought. What matters now is what Oxford and its graduates do with their privilege, what new currents of equity will they bring into the world, what new currents of just and ethical economics will they make possible, what new scientific discoveries will they make and what ways will they find for making all in the world find their health in these wonders, not just drug companies. This is what saddens me about Israel--its people and others like myself know what it means to have one's history trod upon and yet, no new current flows through the Israeli state. I read of how the IDF are demolishing Palestinian towns so their troops have more room to train. Think of the pain of this displacement--the taunt inherent in this, your home is to be destroyed so we can train to destroy more of your homes. This national spitefulness, this cruel national heart for that is what it is is no new current. The graveyards of the past flow right into the graveyards of the present and the survivors of those who were washed away in the past now flood the histories of another people. Around and around goes Addison's Walk, and only stone will remain in the end.

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