Sunday, April 25, 2010

How did you spend your weekend?

The sea between the land, the Mediterranean, no matter from what side I see it I find something resembling contentment. It's there for me in all its blue glory, waiting for the weekends when I can tumble down to its sandy existence, its boundless sunshine falling onto my skin, bringing the joyful hue of life in full appreciation lost to so many who take their breathing for granted.

I sat there on the sand reading Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night and listening to The National's new song Bloodbuzz Ohio, a song about being from Ohio but not being able to connect to it when you're back there, like that was some other life in a dream or a nightmare or something in between, a song in which the singer calls it home even as he's crooning about it feeling like getting stung by a swarm of bees. I looked up and noticed that instead of landing like they usually do when I sit on the beach, the planes were taking off, leaving Beirut. Appropriate. Despite the filth and the chaos and the dysfunction and the insanity and the self-absorption, the thought of leaving Beirut in five weeks invokes a physical reaction not unlike the food poisoning I've had about four or five times since I've been here.

Saturday was beautiful, the clearest day since I've been here, I think, and I could see all the way to South Lebanon. All I could think about was what lies beyond the last land I could see, that entity known as Israel. Suddenly, as I stared out at the Mediterranean waves turning over, glistening in the sun like the only gold that should matter, a rage ripped through me and the contentment was gone, replaced by the violence of hate and despair.

I watched a sand crab a few feet from me crawl sideways back into the hole he was digging. He crawled out again with legs full of sand, which he threw into a pile before disappearing into the hole again to repeat the process. I looked down the beach and saw other crabs doing the same thing, and I watched the human beings step on their holes, their homes, destroying all the work the crabs had done. And I suddenly felt like I needed to save the whole world, starting with that one crab hole a few feet from me.

But I suppose it's not sudden. I suppose I've always felt that way.

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