Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Reflections of a Ukrainian Sky, Musings on War

As the earth rotated four times, Ukrainians saw the same sky seen reflected here in the windows of a Walla Walla building before those citizens looked up towards its early morning light and heard blasts and the whine of incoming bombs. Backing away from the glass of their windows, reluctant to turn away from the sight of their beloved buildings and neighborhoods, the Ukrainian citizens moved to their home’s windowless rooms or down to basements and designated subway stations—where they learned to make Molotov cocktails.

I wonder sometimes what it would be like if we could see in the sky a reflection of what has happened in the lands over which it earlier passed. Or if at least, the sky’s atmosphere would carry in its breathe the holler, the whimper, the shimmer, and the dust of such tragic events as the miscalculations of men instigating wars. The sounds from elsewhere raining down on those of us here might just detour us from thinking we too can covet what is not ours.

The building in the photo above was constructed in the mid-1930s, post WWI and prior to WWII. Mostly it has been an unremarkable building, a car dealership on the back of Main Street. As it is being renovated for some new endeavor, it is looking good. Its western-facing plate glass windows clean and gleaming in the day’s “cloudy with sun” forecast. It hasn’t and likely won’t be blown apart. All of us have turned into and pulled up that asphalt drive to park in the back lot and visit the candy store, toy store, frame shop or the latest restaurant where Merchant’s used to be. The storefronts and restaurants flip occupants, but none violently like those in the Ukrainian cities which will change by necessity as they are overtaken or bombed by Russian aggression. 

There is much debate as to whether the relatively peaceful last few decades is an aberration or if the human race is moving towards a greater peace. I wonder if when we look down at our cell phone's news with the phone’s screen reflecting the sky above, the visions will contain the echoes and scenes sufficiently awful to convince us to be done with the necessity for those occasional internet searches for Molotov cocktail recipes.