An Early Morning Question

On my morning walk and it’s a gorgeous hummer of a day, 10 degrees of red, perfect shortsleeved breeze, blackbirds tackling the breaking sun, morning’s wet noodle kiss all over everything. A gray-haired woman walks towards me. Hands clasped on her belly and she carries a worried look. I’m walking at my usual Wednesday clip and adhering to the unwritten pedestrian code: “never complain, never explain” – attentive but not quite in the world. As we get closer, her look grows consternated. When we meet, she stops. She appears to be thinking. I can almost hear the gears turning. Finally, with a pleasant British accent, she asks me a question:

Do you think [Canada] should be in Afghanistan?

Her question strikes me as more rhetorical, but I answer anyways:

No. Our kids are dying over there.

“That’s what I thought,” she says as she waves her crooked but validated finger at me. As we pass, I look back at her and hear vague mumbling about war and injustice. I start mumbling something about war. Start thinking about war. Our boys and girls are over there trying to rebuild a war-torn nation. Killing and dying in the process. And here I am walking to work on a beautiful morning – sun on my face with nary a care in the world except my next footfall. Streets still wet from last night’s rain. Paper boxes empty.