Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Memory

Today is the anniversary of the 1946 Spokane Indians baseball team bus crash. It also (I learned last week) is the saints day for John the Baptist. I don't think I ever knew that. It feels like a nice coincidence.

It is on this day that the team's bus crashed as it was crossing Snoqualmie Pass. Nine of the 16 men on the bus died. Eight of the nine who died had served in World War II. It was the first season after the war.

It was a great team. They were good men. I take this moment to remember them.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Good Day

Yesterday, in Pennsylvania, two juries rendered two verdicts.

One jury found senior Catholic church official Monsignor William Lynn guilty of one count of child endangerment. That jury did not accept his defense that he had to accept the bishop's decision not to stop a known pedophile priest - not to report that priest to the police - not to keep that priest away from children, but to send him back into ministry, and to children. Instead, the jury held him responsible for his own actions - his own lack of action.

A second jury found former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. That jury did not accept Sandusky's story that he did not abuse those children (now adults). Instead, the jury listened to the testimony of Sandusky's victims and believed they told the truth.

For all those sexually abused (for those who have spoken up and have not been believed, for those who have not spoken up because they knew they would not be believed - for those who have spoken up and have been shocked to be believed - and still mourned for those who were not so lucky - for those who were abused simply because those in authority never stopped the abuser even though they knew who the abuser was and what that abuser did - and would do....)

for all those people, often silent and silenced voices....

Yesterday was a good day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Three Ravens

A few weeks ago, I wrote of a raven who flew at my car's passenger side door - so closely that I could see his talons curled up in to his underbelly - it had been black on black, but I saw them all the same.

In the past week or so, I have seen two other ravens.

Well, I have seen many ravens, actually - there are many, in Spokane - they often travel in flocks - a "hell," I believe it is called when they gather together like that (no, a "murder" it is - I stand corrected - and that is for the crow and not the raven) (these have been so large that they can't be crows) (that's the rule).

In any case - I recently have seen two more ravens in striking locations, like I saw the first. These new two so strikingly have appeared from what seems like nowhere that, as with their brother from a few weeks ago, they are imbedded images in my brain for ever - or at least for now.

One of these two stood up on the tip of the top of the building next to my office building - and seemingly waited until he caught my eye, so that I first could see him so perched for a moment - just a moment! - before he fell forward and downward in dramatic dive.

Here is a photo - not of the bird but of the roof on which he stood (at its highest point)...

... because, before I even thought of taking a photo, it was too late - he already had taken his dive, and come within feet of the ground before circling back up and flying away.

And then there was a third Raven. This one also startled. I was driving on May 30 in late afternoon to a parish in Spokane - St. Aloysius, a Jesuit parish on Gonzaga U's campus. I was headed there because it was the anniversary of the death of Joan of Arc, and it seemed fitting to light a candle and say a prayer on her behalf at that location. As I drove on Sharp Avenue, I sensed a presence outside my window - and yet I knew there was no car to my left, driving along my side. I glanced to see what the presence was. It was a Raven - my third in a matter of weeks. He flew alongside me, at almost-eye level - perhaps a bit above that, but not by much - and stayed so for about a block - until, I'm sure, he was confident that I had witnessed his parallel flight - and then he swooped up and away, with an imperceptible nod.

I felt - what should I say - approved? Yes - that whatever I was doing was acknowledged, appreciated - approved.

(And notice: I did not modify "imperceptible" with the word "near" - for I do not know that I even saw the nod that I'm describing.)

It was a trio of ravens on a trilogy of days. Perhaps that is what a flock of ravens should be called - a trilogy.