Walking my grandson in the parks, I have come to face a new fear………
It is “Lord of the Flies” out there…….
I see mothers sitting on benches, occasionally giving a yell to one of their offspring, who run battling with sticks and screams to rival any confrontation on the Island of Lord of the Flies…….
Poor fragile trees, pulled out and broken, their energy depleted to form a battling spear among the grass.
Yesterday, I spent the day at the water’s edge, near the border of New York and New Jersey. Standing amidst the rocks, gazing at the waves, the rustle of little boys fighting came from behind. Fearing they would knock me off balance, I turned and said…..”Go fight somewhere else.” My son in law turned and grinned, “You didn’t tell them to stop fighting, you told them to go fight somewhere else.” I witnessed cruelty and destruction, one little boy constructing a makeshift bonfire out of broken twigs, another jumping up to supply more fuel for the imaginary fire.
It’s been years since I held a little one’s hand to stroll in the park, times just seem different now. I know children always fought, now it seems the violence has escalated. I was the thorn in my older brother’s side, as he played cowboys and indians. I had my own cap gun. I have a picture of my brother and his friend pointing theirs at me; I know they wished it wasn’t imaginery back then. A little tag along sister would succumb to her wounds and need constant convalescence back home in her bed……..away from them.
Then, I spent time as a guide at a zoo and witnessed the cruelty of children toward animals as apathetic parents just looked on in acceptance. Peacocks roamed the zoo grounds; it was a constant battle between me and the “little savages” hunting and pulling a fragile feather. Birds bleed when feathers are pulled; certain blood feathers bleed profusely and cause peril to a bird’s survival.
Now that I have a home in Gettysburg, friends who served as Battlefield guides relay their own horror stories of disrespect on the Hallowed grounds.
Maybe I have given up, thrown in the sticks, acknowledging the fight must go on somewhere else…….perhaps it is our savage nature to hurt and fight and conquer…..even conquer the innocent broken branches of a nearby tree or the frightened little bird who tries to outrun his attacker.
Maybe young mothers have given up too……..and that is sad and scary for this blog writer, who still seeks out her quiet corner of the island………….
Deep down, are primordial voices beckoning the battle, the hunt, the chase……….
It is up to good parents to teach what voices childrens’ ears should harken to in this savage world of ours.