The waste at Dunkirk.

 

 Fifteen miles through an impossibly beautiful morning. The temperature is strangely cool for the last Sunday in July. Uncharacteristically, I start after daybreak, unafraid of the rising sun because of the air temperature. My mind does not wander today, still caught in the existential, meditative, mood “Dunkirk” left me with yesterday. The movie cycles through three plot lines. The first takes place on Dunkirk Beach over the course of a week. They are desperately trying to find a way back across the Channel to the safety of England as “the enemy” closes in. I kept being reminded of Picasso’s “The Tragedy”. Both give the same feeling of hopeless despair and isolation. The second takes place over the course of a day, following the experiences of one of the thousands of civilian small boats as they rush to help pluck the shattered British army off the beach. The third takes place over an hour as the three stories, show moments of heroism, cowardice, and panic without judgment. In that horror, it is no one’s place to judge. The story of the Spitfire pilots portrays pure honor as the pilots undertake their impossible task.

I keep seeing the lives being portrayed before me as tender, youthful threads overwhelmed by the tsunami-like events surrounding them. These threads so easily snap and are forever lost in the surge. But all our threads end and are lost in the steady flow of time. What numbs me about this movie is how young and vulnerable these men are. So many cease to exist suddenly.

I remember my mom and her brothers and sisters recalling “the miracle at Dunkirk”. What made this superficially odd was that they were German nationals of German and Japanese descent. But, as was characteristic of the globalism that preceded WWI and WWII, the gentrified classes had international affiliations. Their father was born and educated in Britain, though a German citizen. The oldest each of the brothers and sisters were also educated in Britain. As such, they were spared the petty parochial world views that gave rise to Fascism, as it still does today.

I run fast and alone in the beautiful day. But I feel hollow inside, like a Giacometti stick sculpture, running.