Oddly enough, this is not a political post. It is, rather, a glorious comment on human nature. What are we writers, after all, other than recorders of, and explorers of the heights and depths of the souls we see around us in all their potential?
She offers them seeds for their pockets. The lyrical subtext is not, as I’ve seen some say of this little video, that they will be buried and flowers will come up on their graves. No. Seeds do not germinate if they are buried too deeply. Instead? She means that their bodies will be left to rot in ignominy where they fell, and the seeds will sprout up fed by their carcasses, to show forth the glory of their defeat. Sunflowers? The national flower of the Ukraine. Her curse is pure poetry, and it begs to be immortalized in stories.
Flip to the other side. The soldier is remarkably patient with her, pleading, almost, for her to go and not make trouble. He’s not much happier to be there than she is to have him there. He certainly makes no move to hurt her even while she bestows on him her beautiful curse. The two faces of war aren’t impersonal hatred and implacable contempt, they are here, in this little vignette. Under other circumstances she might offer him tea. Not now, not here.
I’m very much in sympathy with the woman, here. I have no dog in this fight – yes, yes, I’m aware of some of the history and events leading up to this – and can step back and look at this as a writer, and it stirs my soul. The courage! The wit! The sheer foolishness of it… but this, like the defenders of Snake Island who spat defiance in the face of certain death, captures the imagination just as tales like these have done from before recorded history. We honor the brave, no matter what side they stand on. The pure of heart, the underdog, the ones who face unflinching their fate…
And in a story? Can we write such, or will they be dismissed as unreal to the venal humans we see in our humdrum lives? The trend toward anti-hero has been sliding ever downward. Me, I’d rather write heroes and inspiring stories that can show how to act when the moment comes. I don’t want my characters to slink away into an alley and scurry safely home. Instead, I want them to square their shoulders and armed only with a handful of seeds, defend their home.
Or, you know, carry a Javelin and pop the turret of a tank a few hundred yards down the road.