All around the O'Keeffe Research Center, huge catalpa trees are in bloom. These are the trees that, by fall, will be covered in long stringy seed pods drooping down - but these huge bunches of white blossom are what precedes them, and they are magnificent, and consoling, on a day in which the news coming out of England is too horrible to believe. For me, there's the extra twist that Jo Cox was the MP for the area that my mother's side of the family came from, so all the images, all the accents, are painfully familiar. Catalpa trees - like an American parallel to the candle blossoms of horse chestnut trees - seem to accentuate the sense of distance, although they're also undeniably beautiful. And yet - how real is the distance? This seems like international fear and bigotry; Trumpism and Brexit; guns and guns. But at the same time, there's still the sense of disbelief for me, at any rate, that an American style gun crime takes place in broad daylight outside Birstall library.