Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dona Nobis Pacem

All there is, is atoms and space. Everything else is illusion. (Melissa Etheridge)

Special Guest Blogger: Starr Ann

Have you ever heard of a Partners Desk? My best friend Margo (hi, Margo) and I have one of them. A Partners Desk has two fronts, so the partners can sit across from one another, facing, as they work. Usually, Margo is writing fiction and I'm...well let's just say I'm making plans. Here's a picture of a Partners Desk that's a lot fancier than ours, but at least it gives you an idea what I'm talking about.

Neat, huh? Last night, Margo and I were at our desk working on today's BlogBlast for Peace post. I was having trouble getting started, and my mind began to drift. Margo was concentrating very hard, but she wasn't writing much. You can always tell when Margo gets traction on an idea because her words start zooming all over the place. You probably noticed that if you ever read her stuff. It's like somebody threw a ball bearing into a halfpipe. Words start rolling like crazy, up and down ramps, and flying up in the air and going nearly out of control, until they finally settle once she gets her idea out. I wrote down that image, thinking maybe I'd use it in my half of our peace blog, because when she gets to that point, what you've got is a person at peace.

After about ten more minutes of us both basically spinning our wheels, I couldn't take it any longer. I had to reach into my second drawer from the top and get out my spitball straw. The first spitball hit her on the arm and she barely even noticed. The second one hit her below her collarbone, but all she did was rub once where I got her. The third one hit her writing hand and landed on the page, next to her pen point. I knew there was going to be trouble when she stayed very calm and didn't look up.

Like a crocodile striking from still water, Margo launched herself across our desk and wrestled me to the floor. Strengthwise, we're an even match. But she is ticklish and I am not. I always win because of that. Once I'd tickled her into submission, we were lying on the floor, on our backs, panting hard. Then the endorphins hit and we started giggling and saying whatever came to our heads. Peace was on our minds because of the blog.

Margo said, "Know what's peaceful?"

"Yeah, tickling you silly."

"That too, but I really like being in the barn all by myself listening to the horses eat."

I knew exactly what she meant. I said, "Or working on something, anything, so hard you all of a sudden look up and have no earthly idea what time it is."

"Yeah, that's always good. And then there's that chemical change that happens from crying and how peaceful you feel afterward."

I reminded Margo that I don't cry much. She nodded. Then we started batting peaceful moments and thoughts back and forth.

"The cold, still minutes right before sunrise."

"Salty soup and crackers after you've been sick."

"Joan Baez's voice singing anything. Or talking."

"Watching Ruffian's races over and over and over."

"Falling asleep in a pool of sunlight."

"The moments after orgasm."

"Overhauling the underground bunkers and re-stocking their food supplies."

"That's not peaceful."

"To me it is."

"Reading Willa Cather."

Anyway, you get the idea. We must have been lying there for half an hour when Jodie came walking in. Margo had fallen asleep, so Jodie spoke softly as she eased down beside us. I told her how our attempt to blog about peace had ended up in a fairly violent wrestling match. I recounted for her the peaceful images we'd come up with lying there on the floor.

I said, "All those beautiful, peaceful experiences are wonderful, and I'm so grateful we get to have them. But, do you ever feel guilty for how fortunate we are? Are we the modern, American incarnation of the good Germans?"

Jodie took my hand and squeezed as she thought about that. She stood up and retrieved a copy of our Peace Globe from Margo's side of the desk. "Look at this. The Earth, Nature, is a dynamic system full of beauty yes, but She also thrives on violence. Think about all life through all the ages. How have the vast majority of individual lives ended? By being eaten. Uninterrupted peace isn't natural."

"Are you saying we just stand by? Just let violence take its course?"

"Hell no. We fight it every step of the way. Resist with all our might." Jodie shook her head and smiled. "But that's not what we're talking about at the moment. We're talking about the place of peace in the world. And I believe peace is exactly what you two made of it tonight. You can't feel peaceful all the time, any more than the world is ever going to be bathed in perpetual peace. What you can do, all you can do, is pay damn good attention to the peace that comes your way."

Jodie kissed me goodnight and went home so I could write down these events. We debated over whether to wake Margo up so she could help with the post, but she just looked too peaceful lying there asleep.