Like gravity ushering mercury free from a broken thermometer, prayer spirits my anger away and leaves me empty and clear. I look at the world I ignored during my indignation. Winter sun flashes and plates the snowless earth silver, and all that is in it, silver, more silver. Cottonwood leaves lie fallen in heaps— currency from handsome silver-barked trees. Angling sunlight polishes dirt till it glints, and a flurry of feathers, dappled and beige— even they somehow shine silver, silver as notes from the throat of a thrush. A man all in camouflage perches among the tree branches, holding his breath, a rifle at rest on his knees, his back warmed by sunshine that burnishes him like a silver milagro, a talisman somebody placed there in homage and hope. He waits for the silver-furred deer to step into his sights, but I scared them off with my footfalls. Now, from the silvery floor of the canyon, a great languid tree trunk, surrendered and skinned clean of bark, invites me to rest in its crook with my pen and my book, so I can write all this down before it gets dark.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).