Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

A thin ghost of a breeze drifting through the window. Under cloudless skies. We’re in the Drop Off Lane at Long Beach Middle School. Sitting in our parked cars.

I’m in the back seat of my Red Line. Legs dangling through the open door. My left toes dipping into a rain puddle. The water is oily, but cold. I can almost sleep. Almost.

They’re on the way, right now, Mellisa yells, her cell glued to her ear.

She likes to scream updates to us. Even though we’re five feet in front of Jason’s car.

These mythical supply trucks have been on their way for the past two hours. First they were hung up on HWY-49. Now they are supposedly trapped under some low-hanging power lines, on 28th Street. She gets regular updates, from "her source."

Somehow Mel thinks she has a direct connection to FEMA. Her Sprint cellphone is able to call other Sprint people. And she loves to talk. The phone has nearly grown into the side of her head.

Her recent FEMA rumor has kept us sitting like this for almost three hours. The promise of ice and water is hard to resist, though. And we are the twenty third car in line, if relief arrives tonight. Thanks to the Southern Gossip Network founded by my cellphone wielding sister-in-law, the line is full of people she has “let in on her secret.”

Fortunately, there is a cop at the front of the line, lending some creditability to the theory that a convoy of National Guardsmen is bringing trucks of supplies to this location. His patrol car is idling and the light bar bathes the gathered masses in shades of red and blue.

This is the end of the second day after Katrina. No serious “relief” in sight. And we’re chasing rumors like a sinner chasing salvation. Desperate for anything we can get.

I’ll give this luncacy another hour. We need these supplies. Need the relief. Need to know that life will improve. And we need to be sure the rest of the world knows we are still here, fighting for survival each day. Without looting, without turning upon one another. Thankful for whatever help we receive.

In the meanwhile, a relevant snippet from Yeats’ Slounching Toward Bethlehem:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Through this thickening haze of sleep, I think I hear the falconer.

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