Then he led her to sit by him on a fallen gum trunk, smooth and white, and he leaned to whisper in her ear. Transferred the secret he and her mother had kept for seventeen years. Waited for the flicker of recognition, the minute shift in expression as she registered what he was telling her. Watched as the bottom fell out of her world and the person she had been vanished in an instant.
The magic of purpose and of love in its purest form. Not televison love, with its glare and hollow and sequined glint; not sex and allure, all high shoes and high drama, everything both too small and in too much excess, but just love. Love like rain, like the smell of a tangerine, like a surprise found in your pocket.
Knowing is not simply a material act, since the object that is known always conceals something beyond the empirical datum. All our knowledge, even the most simple, is always a minor miracle, since it can never be fully explained by the material instruments that we apply to it. In every truth there is something more than we would have expected, in the love that we receive there is always an element that surprises us.
The attacks of 9/11 were the biggest surprise in American history, and for the past ten years we haven't stopped being surprised. The war on terror has had no discernible trajectory, and, unlike other military conflicts, it's almost impossible to define victory. You can't document the war's progress on a world map or chart it on a historical timetable in a way that makes any sense. A country used to a feeling of being in command and control has been whipsawed into a state of perpetual reaction, swinging wildly between passive fear and fevered, often thoughtless, activity, at a high cost to its self-confidence.