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Friday, September 21, 2001

There's been a fine line between hope and despair lately. How I feel varies from day to day, and I've recorded it here, to the degree that I can express it at all. It's hard sometimes, and at other times it's all too easy. One day I'm moaning about the miseries (nope, can't appropriate that name, must think of something else) and the next I'm waxing philosophical about the generosity of spirit we've witnessed since September 11.

For now, for today at least, I'm going to try to stop myself from guessing what's going to happen and worrying about the consequences of events I can't foresee. For one thing, it's already been decided, if not in scope at least in fact. The president made it clear in last night's speech that the war will start soon and go on for so long that we'll get used to it. It's going to be a fact of life until we declare ourselves the winners.

The speech was elegantly written and forcefully delivered. I like patriotic speeches, where people who normally snipe at each other stand together and applaud. It gives me some hope when I see political enemies embracing without pretense. Even when I don't agree with every word spoken, I'm swept away in the emotion of the moment. Later, I can think about it and pick it apart, but at the time it just feels good.

I'm getting reacquainted with C-SPAN and NPR. It's good we have such a thing as National Public Radio, where the discussions are measured and informed. And it's wonderful to have C-SPAN, where Congress is seen unedited and uninterpreted by talking heads. I'm also getting back to reading the newspaper, where if you look hard enough, you can find more information on a single page than you get watching an hour of TV newscasts.

I won't turn away from this. I'll keep myself as well-informed as possible about what's going on, from as many angles as I can find. When I learn something that makes me want to speak out, I'll do so. I already know I'm against killing innocent people, but that's an easy position to take. As time goes on, I hope there will be more things I'm for than against, so that I can produce a series of gung ho, upbeat journal entries. I'm getting prepared for it to go the other way, though, just in case.

But I won't let it consume me. In the spirit of the president's asking people to "live your lives and hug your children," I'll continue to work in the garden and watch ballgames and try to make my little corner of this big scary world a little better.

How can I be in a down mood when my nephew drops by unexpectedly? David pulled up this morning in the big red truck and introduced me to Homer. Homer is a mastiff he was looking after for a friend for the day. Homer is five months old and weighs 120 pounds, on his way to 180. Homer is an enormous, gentle monster with the face of an angel.


He stands as high as my waist and when he lies down at your feet you'd better step back. It's a good thing David has the big red truck, because Homer takes up more space than three or four small children.

Homer and David

If this isn't a recipe for feeling better, I don't know what is.

My satellite connection did me some good tonight. I watched the Mets and Braves on the New York cable channel. It was the first baseball game at Shea Stadium since September 11. Last week, Shea was used as a staging area for emergency vehicles and a drop-off point for donations. Today it played a part in putting the city back together.

Actually, I watched only the moving pre-game ceremony, which brought tears to my eyes (again; I didn't think I had any left). If the president's speech didn't quite give me the boost I was looking for, I can always think of people like those honored on the field tonight, including the victims, their families, and all the different rescue groups, along with the U.S. armed services.

You can't help being buoyed by the spirit of the people of New York. If they can stand and cheer, who am I to moan and wail?

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