Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Perhaps is an odd word. So full of promise and mystery, So meaningful in so many ways, and so very fine at holding back reality. It's the rock that divides the stream into two different paths, one to sink into the sands and be lost and another to become a torrent as it joins other streams on its way to the sea.

We use it to say things like "Perhaps if elephants (or pigs) could fly", ...and then we laugh. Or sometimes we use it to say about situations, "Perhaps if we went about this another way...." and we proceed. Sometimes it just means "maybe.."

But does it mean the same thing when the mother tells her children at night, "Perhaps tomorrow when you awaken Santa will have been here and it will be Christmas." and sends them off to sleep with a kiss as it does when another mother tells her children, "Perhaps tomorrow we may have something to feed you." Or "Hush, little one, perhaps tomorrow the bombs will stop falling."

What does it mean when the unknown gunner loads his mortar and smiles as he tells himself, "Perhaps this one will land on it's target." or when the frightened huddle in a place to shield themselves from that mortar round and whisper to each other, "Perhaps here, we will be safe."?

You might tell yourself that it always means "maybe.." and perhaps it does...after all it's just another word. Just a word that affirms, promises, denies and is indecisive all at the same time.

But is it really? Are all the perhaps in the world just more ways of saying maybe? Maybe you will have toys. Maybe you will have food. Maybe you will die. Maybe the sun will bless you with its warmth and bounty or maybe it will parch your waterholes, blast your crops and leach the life from your fields and your children. Maybe a new day will increase your happiness in the arms of a new lover or maybe a bullet will find you unaware leaving you to lie in a street. Maybe you will feel your life slipping away as your blood stains the stones beneath you, and maybe not...Maybe you look forward to Heaven or maybe you don't believe in a hell. Is it so easy to just shrug and say "Perhaps" ?

When do we stop saying "perhaps"?

When do all the peoples of this poor blasted planet reach out and say, "Perhaps we can live together." When do they lay down their guns and their bombs and their chains saying "perhaps these things are not necessary.."? When do they share their food saying, "Perhaps my brother is hungry"?

Perhaps never?


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