Friday, August 8, 2008

A Moment --

Interlude: I've been watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. As I write, I'm watching the relay of the Flame, from the gate to the Cauldron. I missed the first hour of the broadcast but caught the end of it, and the Parade of the Nations.

I'm weeping. I LOVE watching the nations of the world - some countries I've never heard of (with one, two, four athletes only); I was struck by the ineffable beauty of the faces, the diversity of shape, of color, of eyes and noses and lips. I loved seeing the standard bearers of each county waving their breathtaking banners.

I caught my breath to see Yao Min (7-1/2 feet tall!) carrying the Chinese flag -- accompanied by a tiny nine-year-old boy, who was given that considerable honor because of his bravery: in the horrendous earthquake those few months ago, his school was destroyed. He lost many of his classmates...but was himself responsible for saving the lives of two of his classmates. The narrator said he'd been asked why he did go back for them, and he had replied that he was a Hall Monitor, it was his responsibility. He was proudly waving a tiny Chinese flag in one hand and a little Olympic flag in the other. He was moving to keep up with Yao Min -- he barely came to the top of the athlete's leg.

I was moved to tears, deeply, by the slow and stately raising of the Olympic flag with its familiar colored circles. As it caught the breeze and swelled out, I could think of only one thing: why, if all these people can manage a few hours' peace together (although it may disintegrate come morning) why can't everyone keep it UP?

I write children's fairy tales: maybe that's why I CAN imagine a day when, in every single country of the world, on a given day, a flag might be run up a flagpole bearing a white field with five stars: red, yellow, black, white and brown.

I guess it won't be in my lifetime.


Linda L. said...

Now, Ms. Dale Harriet, I don't want to hear you saying "not in my lifetime". May I refer you to your own words?

Perhaps sports can't bring about total world peace, but some young child out there, sitting in front of those flickering images, could be inspired by the Olympic spirit and grow up to inspire others...

Humans are capable of such amazing things. As more of us pledge to reject prejudice and fear of each other, we come one step closer to that goal. One day we will become the majority. We may not see the final product, but you never know if we have already seen the beginning!

dale-harriet said...

linda l. I stand corrected! I guess if I can *believe* in it, I can believe it can be....Furthermore, Thank You. Earnestly.

MollyBeees said...

Amen Dale Harriet!

Yarnhog said...

It probably won't be in anyone's lifetime, and no, I don't feel like a curmudgeon for saying so. But for a few days every couple of years, we get to put aside our differences and relate as people, no matter what else is going on in the world. Which is why I think it is such a bloody, freakin' shame when countries (or their private citizens) boycott the Olympics, or are not permitted to compete, to make a political point. You cannot possibly foster understanding by staying away from those with whom you disagree. You cannot build bridges if you are hiding behind walls. Engage, people! It's the first step toward any sort of understanding.

And now I'll get off my (former diplomat) soapbox and go watch the games.

MollyBeees said...

Missed you at Dishcloth Night at the Ear last night! The pattern was the Olympic Rings with 2008 underneath. I saved you a copy.