No reason to suspect foul play
They found her near the river, on the weedy bank. The river is paved over for most of its length, but it rises in a couple spots, and one of them is near the interstate, in back of a now-abandoned Sam's Club. The river powered the first cotton mills in the city where I live, but electricity came along, and they gave the river a layoff notice, and then buried it, a fate common to working people and working rivers.
Ducks use that little bit of still water, and swans. I drive by that spot on my way to the bank, and I used to pull my truck into the parking lot and get out with a camera in my hand because I wanted a picture of the ducks and the swans.
But it was never right. The light bounced too brightly off the water, or the banks were too dark, or the birds wouldn't come out into the center of the water, so I quit trying.
She was a homeless woman, and people were looking for her, but not many, just family and a few friends.
By the time they got to her, she'd been dead for a while. Some people who were down along the river's edge looking for deposit bottles found her, and they called the cops. She was lucky that way. She could have been found by the kind of people who never call the cops. She might have been found by people who would have rolled her into the water, or the kind of people who would have mutilated what was left of her. There are few expectations down there by the river, in the weeds where the homeless camp.
They found her a couple of days before the breathlessly awaited State of the Union address, an event characterized by one man's self-congratulation. They identified her the day after, when all of America shouted, "Hooray for our side!"
The cops said there was no reason to suspect what newspapers still call "foul play," as though life in the weeds had rules, like a baseball game. According to the rules, you can die because it's your own fault, you can die because it's someone else's fault, or you can die because it's no one's fault. There is no other category in the rulebook.
And her death did not stop for a minute the nation's carnival of politics, our fun house of blame, our loud, name-calling attempt to avoid the other person's truth.
They never play the national anthem or raise the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance down there in the weeds, so you can't be disrespectful to anything, and if you're "taking a knee," it's because you're too high to stand up, or someone has just knocked you down, or maybe you are vomiting. Down in the weeds, everything has a different meaning than it does inside a house, or inside the halls of the most mighty United States government, which is far away, and may not even be there at all.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "The Land of Trumpin," is a collection of his columns from before, during and after the last presidential election. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and GooglePlay.