The one and only time I have ever been to Brussels it was in a train station for 35 minutes, 20 years ago, and the only thing I remember is that when I went to buy a croissant at the train station french fry stand, I accidentally yanked my wallet out too hard and all of my money + the contents of my backpack (books, dirty socks, a Cosmo magazine, 13 pounds of spare change and about 74,000 tampons) went flying everywhere. Everywhere. It was mortifying. Especially because no less than four people -all of them total strangers- rushed to help me, each of them speaking a different language, none of which understood.
Three things about this:
1. Did you hear the part where I mentioned FRENCH FRY STAND IN THE TRAIN STATION and it sold CROISSANTS?
These people know how to live.
2. If that happened to me today, here, would four people rush to help me?
Not likely. It would not be fair to say all Belgian people are equally so kind, but that is how they remain in my mind. Also – the symbol of their capital is a statue of a rebellious boy peeing into a fountain. And he has outfits. So, you know I’m a fan.
3. Why were these people, these kind, smart, french fry-loving, weirdly-open-minded and multicultural people made a target for hate and destruction yesterday?
Coming up short on this one.
This is the part where I’m supposed to say I’m sending prayers and good thoughts to the 30+ people who died yesterday, and their families, and all those effected by the bombing, and I’m going to get there, but first I’m going to be mad as a hornet.
And I don’t know what to do about it.
Terrorism is not new, nor is this a unique incident, but what do you do about it? For all the time, money and attention spent on this, it still happens. All the time. And the point of terrorism cause fear and drive blame…and what are we doing? We all get afraid and look for someone to blame.
Boom – they win.
We let them win.
….Guhhh. Okay. Sorry. I don’t mean to bitch. I really don’t. I created this site as a forum to share ideas and sometimes the ideas aren’t of the hot glue and sequin variety. It irritates me that I can turn on a dozen news channels right now and hear endless experts talking about what happened yesterday, but nobody is saying what we can do about it to prevent it from happening again, or how to help those rippling through the aftermath. This bugs me. I’m a fixer. I don’t like allotting brain space to problems without allotting equal space to a solutions. Anything less comes off as whining, and listening to it, however compelling or sympathetic, eventually starts to sound like nails on a chalkboard.
But I digress.
Hey! Let’s shift gears and talk about something important: flowers.
…and speaking of Brussels, in addition to french fries, croissants, and ability to overcome terrorism, they do this awesome thing the flower carpet. I have admired it for years. Have you heard of it? Look at this thing!
It takes place in late summer every two years in the Grand-Place in the center of Brussels. This open plaza is one of the most beautiful in the world already, and then 120 volunteers fill it with one million begonias. I told you I liked these people.
Credit: Images and video provided by the City of Brussels office of Tourism. You need to watch the video.
The 2016 carpet is scheduled to be in tribute to diplomatic relations with Japan, but I doubt Japan would mind if they altered or integrated the theme to remember yesterday’s events. Or not. Maybe that is not necessary. Public art has weird healing powers when it comes to injured communities, regardless of content or context. A thing of beauty is never a waste of time. I suppose, in a small way, making beautiful things is it’s own strange form of counter-terrorism. It’s a living demonstration of survival. Making something with your hands says you will create good things in spite of a bad surrounding. You will create light in the dark. And isn’t that the most enviable skill of all?
Welp. That’s what I know about that.
I’m off. Today is one of those rare days I scheduled for nothing but painting, which is such a treat, but today, perhaps it comes with a slightly heavier heart.