Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Big Picture

I tend to be a wholistic thinker. I think in terms of the big picture rather than in details. If you and I were to go shopping together and I lost you, I would be able to see you in my mind, but have no idea of what you were wearing that day.

When, on new years day, I heard that a 17 year old boy was killed by two 15 year old boys in a country town in Australia I thought in terms of the big picture. It is believed that race was a contributing factor in this crime. I thought about public policy and how it can be used to promote tolerance or lead to intolerance. I thought about our knowledge of the development of the frontal lobe of the brain - it is our censor, it considers consequences of actions and has been shown to not be fully developed until after the age of 20. I thought about this town as representative of Australian attitudes to 'multi-culturalism'. I thought about the loss of a children - victim and perpetrator, friends and family. I thought about education and its role in the acceptance of difference.

But then I saw the name of the young boy. I realised that I know him. His mother is a close friend of my mother. My mother has been planning a holiday to visit them for this year. I have known his family since before he was born. He was just one year older than my daughter. The picture became much smaller.

Now I am thinking about resilience. How does the human spirit get up and go on. I am an empathetic person - I find it easy to put myself into another's shoes and consider how they are feeling. I can't allow myself to do that in this case, it is just too sad and too close.

For some time I have been planning a quilt about flowers that grow from the desert. I intended it to be a comment on the resilience of the earth and nature. All my quilts hold memories of what I was doing or thinking about at the time. When I look at them I can be transported to a time or place quite quickly. This one is now all about resilience. The human ability to continue, to maintain optimism and find strength. We are amazing creatures.

It is obviously not finished, still more work to go. I hope that I don't have to make another quilt that embodies these feelings.


Stomper Girl said...

Such a sad story, and written so well. Little tear in my eye. A beautiful quilt too.

Molly said...

How sad for those families. And when you know those involved it quadruples the horror.....

My float said...

I'm so sorry for you and your family. This is a dreadful thing that happened.

I have no idea how you go on. I only hope that I never have to find out. My heart goes out to this boy's parents, and his brothers. What awful waste.

Your quilt is beautiful. My mother has given me a quilt made of fabric like my school uniform and other things that remind me of when I was growing up. And it's incredibly comforting, because while I wouldn't go back to being a child for anything, I take comfort in knowing who I was and who I am now.

You are creating your family heritage. What a gift for your children.

aunty evil said...

I'm sorry Tracey, that such a terrible event has entered your life, even at that distance. The story you refer to is a particularly horrid one, but, in their own way, they are all horrid.

Like My Float, I don't know how you go on. I watch people suffer tragedy after tragedy and you wonder how they endure. It does show the strength of spirit that humans have. Where they find it, I have no idea.

meggie said...

I really enjoyed your post, though it is so sad.
I love the look of that quilt, with the hope of the flowers.

loved the story about the 'reverse peddle' too!

Tracey Petersen said...

Thanks for your coments guys. I really don't know how you go on after this, I just know that you do. You wake up each day and you live. The family has asked for privacy as they grieve. The younger brothers are going to find this to be a life defining moment, I hope that they will grow strong. My mother will still go to visit the family in a few months, but it will be a very sad visit instead of a happy reunion.