Maxed Out 

The dogs of war taste blood

Some minutes before six, morning was just beginning to wash the sky colours of false dawn: soft pastel pinks, faded transparent blues, promising yellows. Blended, reflected and dappled, the colours bled into each other and into a pointillist landscape on the surface of the lake stretching before me to the unnamed island choking the passage to the far shore. The water sparkled like frost crystals in an open field.

A lone figure in a single fishing boat passed time waiting for a strike, trolling the often lucky waters in a narrow eastern passage between the shore and the island. Loons danced across the water in their comic, manic struggle to gain flight, as graceless getting airborne as they are sleek and nimble swimming underwater. Their cries echoed and dopplered, coming from all directions at once, the distinctive crowing of the north country’s native rooster.

A bald eagle, one of a resident pair, banked lazily just off shore in front of where I sat. Shafts of light from a sun not yet above my horizon set his white head and tail feathers aglow as though lit from an internal source. He hovered momentarily, sizing up his potential breakfast, then moved on deciding it was either too small or just possibly too large.

On the other side of the continent, at more or less the exact moment that eagle was fussily mulling over his breakfast choices, a Boeing 767 careened out of the morning sun and slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, touching off a conflagration that’s likely to redefine whatever haphazard course humanity was charting for itself up until then.

May we choose our course wisely.

Had a friend not called to breathlessly let my Perfect Partner know what was going on in the real world, my world would have been the ultimate Fool’s Paradise. No television, a radio that hadn’t been turned on for several days, a local weekly paper already in production, I would have done some work, grabbed a fishing pole and watched the sun arc across a clear, blue Cariboo sky pretty much as I’d done the day before and the day before that.

Nothing’s the same now. How can it be? The game’s been changed, the stakes upped dramatically. The sun darkened.

Not too long after a second plane was guided into the WTC’s south tower and a third into the nerve centre of the US’ military might, people who presumably should know better were all over the airways saying, "This is war!" Most likely they’re right. The immediate problem though is not knowing with whom we are at war.

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