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October 07, 2001: Beautiful day

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It is an extraordinarily lovely day today. The sun is shining and there is just enough of a breeze to stir the tops of the two young trees in our front yard. We woke slowly this morning to warm purring cats and the promise of loveliness peeking around the corners of the curtains in the windows.

We drove off to feed my parents' cat - a gray shorthair with fur softer than any other cat I've touched - and then further down the road to find a Starbucks who might possibly carry cinnamon-chip scones (the new Starbucks in town doesn't. Sniffle). We ate breakfast and cruised past the Toyota dealer to see if they had any of the new Prius', but they weren't open. And we came home and went directly to the front porch, where we sat on the glider swing for a while, sipping our coffee before wandering down to the yard itself to inspect the progress of the star jasmine, the asparagus ferns, the hedges by the porch.

A bold little bird - blue-gray with a long tail so possibly a jay of some sort - inspected the taller of our two little trees and then flitted off to find branches that wouldn't bend quite so much under his weight. Inside, the cats are in all their favorite spots - either sprawled on the bed refusing to move and allow us to straighten the covers, or perched in windows, whiskers perked forward, noses working busily as they take in the marvelous smells of outdoors through the screens.

There is a quiet peace outside today, marked by the distinct lack of farm equipment noise from the fields that are directly beyond the end of our street. It seems as if nothing could quite mar the scene, here in our little neighborhood in our little sleepy sheep-farming town in northern California.

But then I have lately learned not to trust such peaceful days. Lately I have learned to stop and listen to the airplanes as they fly overhead, waiting to see if they might be coming in too low. I have learned to open the newspaper slowly and reluctantly skim the headlines.

It seemed so easy this morning to forget that anything bad could ever happen, and that war has begun.

I am grateful that my father has already retired from his service to the country, and I am even more selfishly grateful that my husband and my brothers-in-law are, for various reasons, exempt from military duty.

And I am grateful to whomever the Shrub hired as his speech writer, for this:

The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith.

The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name."

I only hope that others can make that distinction as well.

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