Stand your ground for beauty
My son reads us the headlines aloud from the CNN ticker that updates every few minutes.
“There’s a guy they’re calling the Ghost of Kyiv. He shot down six fighter jets.”
I understand why this Ghost has captured my son’s (and the world’s) imagination. Like Snoopy’s need to fight the Red Baron, there is a hunger for hope to conquer evil. Or at least to take a swing at it. Most of us feel helpless here on the ground.
He says that folks are not sure if the Ghost is real, “or if he is an urban legend the people of Ukraine need right now.” Real or not, Twitter users are cheering the real downing of the Russian planes and helicopters. I cannot cheer, though, reflexively thinking of the mothers of those Russian pilots, whose dead bodies are not myths. Who are victims of Putin, too.
He pipes up with another horror story from the news ticker. “On Snake Island, a tiny island, eighty Ukrainian soldiers were surrounded by Russian warships. The warships told them to surrender or die.” They did not surrender.
How can this be happening? How can this carnage be real? How can missiles fall and tanks roll while I am ensconced with my family on a weekend trip to the snow, planned when the strangest thing happening in the world was Covid?
“Go to Google Earth,” I say. I need to see our planet looking like a big blue marble, insignificant, with no borders drawn on its curves and swirls.
I cannot stop madmen from starting wars. (No one can, apparently.) So I try to locate the balance between sorrow, empathy and gratitude, to allow myself to enjoy the rare gift of a conversation with my son while we traipse through fresh snow. For the beauty around us, as fragile and as temporary, as it may be.
My father’s father was born in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1917 before the Soviet Union existed. He died in 2000 after the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
“Go back to the view of Earth from space,” I urge. “See if you can find us.”
Laura Nicole Diamond is the award-winning author of Shelter Us: a novel, and Dance with Me: a love letter, and editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She is at work on a memoir about becoming a foster mom to a teenage asylum-seeker. Follow her on Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and here at LauraNicoleDiamond.com.