As promised from yesterday, here’s a photo of some newly planted petunias in the garden. It’s hard to believe that at 7:30 this morning I was in Cincinnati planting flowers and now I’m in Manhattan, around the corner from the 9/11 Memorial.
From the vantage point of 7:30am, this was a good photo to take. But throughout my day today, I had pangs of wanting a different image to capture my day. Not so much because these petunias are inadequate–no. Instead, I felt like I saw so much today. There was so much to depict and record. There’s a lot to take in in this world.
My flight was delayed, and as I sat at the gate waiting, I got to watch a team of police officers test their K-9 bomb sniffing dogs. It was amazing to watch these beautiful, slouchy German Shepherds work. They loved to work, following their handlers’ commands. Watching animal and human work together in that seemed very moving to me, in spit of the bizarre circumstances (training an animal to sniff out a bomb). One dog in particular–an almost-all-black shepherd–would get so excited to find the “bomb” (a squeaky toy) that he would prance in circles with the toy in his mouth, clearly delighted in himself.
On my flight, there was a girl who had severe scarring. That isn’t quite the way to say it. I’m not quite sure what happened to her. My best guess is that she was in some sort of accident and was severely burned. She had patches of hair on her head, almost no nose. I think one of her arms ended in a round, blotchy stump. Something horrendous and horrific and painful had happened to her. And yet she was very much a kid, maybe 10 years old. She’d look out the window, saying, “Mom, Mom, look at this!” She was a child.
I smiled as I walked past their row while boarding the plane. I was trying to find that delicate balance acknowledging and ignoring. In our culture, we are so programmed to not stare at people who look “different” that I think sometimes we just ignoring them and their humanity. I don’t know what the “right thing” to do is. I made eye contact quickly and smiled and kept moving.
Obviously, I wasn’t going to take a picture of this injured girl or of the officers testing their dogs. So, the petunias stand.