I wake early in the morning, just as the sun is peeking over the horizon and for a minute or two I am happy, peaceful even. It's only when I get out of my bed and go to the window that I see it, and my heart and soul are filled, once again, with dread.
I wonder, will I ever be free of the haunting sight of that specter of death? My friends say, "Petra, it's only a kiln. It is nothing. I can't hurt you. It's a kiln, nothing more. You must get over it. Put the past behind you. Move forward with your life."
The words come easily to them. I know they love me; care for my well being, want the best for me, desire my happiness. And in my head, I know what they say is true. It is just as they say, a kiln, a drier for the cement factory. The factory that supports many families in this town. It is not a bad thing, it is not evil. It cannot hurt me. Every day my head tells me to turn away, to smile, to see it for what it is, a cement factory kiln. That is my head. My heart and soul is another thing.
You see, my friends didn't live in the camps. They didn't watch as the soldiers separated crying children from their mothers. They didn't stand by as the guards beat the old and lame who could not walk fast enough or work hard enough. They didn't go to sleep hungry in the lice infested straw of a freezing barracks night after night. And most of all, they didn't see the hopelessness in the faces of the hundreds of human beings as they marched to the furnace where they would soon become the smoke coming from the ovens of death.
Today, I'll try again. I'll look out that window and say, "Petra, forget it. Put it behind you. It's only a cement factory kiln." And who knows, maybe today will the day I can really begin to believe it.
I hope you'll forgive me it this little writing seems heavy. I think I posted before that Jim and I have just seen the movie Defiant. It is still very much in my thoughts and when I saw this picture, this is the story it conjured up.
Have a wonderful day. Next Wednesday I'm thinking of something lighter to write about.