The Woman of War
Meet an icon to the power of wartime women.
It’s been a few weeks since my last newsletter, primarily because of a work obligation that has me grinding through my waking hours. It’s the kind of work that requires steady, quiet focus. There have been days when I’ve only worked, eaten a couple of meals—mostly at my desk—and slept a handful of hours. And this exhaustive grind has me seeing things.
In my make-shift office away from home, there’s a television. We keep it tuned to CNN because the Comrade in Chief has lost his mind. He is isolated, they say, devolving into the madness of tyrants. Invoking a fascist threat—the Ukrainian regime comprises Nazi drug abusers, he says—he’s sent in the forces to clear out the boogeymen. The imaginary monsters. He sees what he wants, what serves his insanity, his politics, both. He is blind to more human images.
The air-raid sirens scream the wartime wakeup call. Young men carry ammunition and weapons to shelters, munition dumps, wherever. Old men fill glass bottles with gas and stuff rags into the tops. “These are the flowers we will hand the Russians,” the former president of Ukraine says. But in the crush of wartime preparation, some have turned to other forms of deterrence.
If I’m to believe the story, she has made her way to the sounds of the bells. It’s the chiming of the hour at the golden-domed St. Michael’s in the heart of Kyiv. With Russian forces on every horizon, she flouts the devils, stands exposed at the wall of the church, arms raised in prayer. While the men prepare for war, she’s firing her own opening salvos.
She did not ask to become an icon. Icons never do. And yet, this woman in the black coat and blue headscarf, hands raised at the wall of saints, is an icon to the ferocity of faith and the courage of the oppressed.
Looking back to my documents, to the work at hand, I hold the image of the lady close. Tonight, tomorrow, the next day, I’ll fumble my way through a set of prayer beads, praying that her season of insanity ends soon enough.
Apologies for the lengthy delay between posts. A work obligation—yes, I have a day job—has me scrambling for a few weeks. I’ll be back with more regular posts soon.