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Newly minted soldier!

Greetings fellow pilgrims!  I had stepped away from my stationary bike for several days in preparation for a cross country trip that starts this morning.  I will be driving to Fort Leonard Wood Missouri to witness my son Max’s graduation from US Army engineer training.  He will then drive back with me on Friday and Saturday. 

I look forward to seeing him and I am proud of the seriousness with which he has training.  My apprehension is about the likelihood that he will be travelling to Afganistan some time soon.  I will spend my drive today sorting out my thoughts and feelings on the topic.  In the mean time I have reposted my Jan 5th blog which was the day Max left for bootcamp.  I am especially looking forward to my drive home with him, as the second poem notes (below) I never had such an opportunity with my own father.  I will have more to say about the graduation and the trip in the days to come.  Hold us in your prayers!

Jan 5, 2010

 We watched at noon today as my son Max walked to a waiting van. Along with six other young men, they started a journey into manhood as warriors for our nation in a time of war.  He carries on a tradition, from father to son.  My grandfather an Army veteran of WWI sent his oldest son to the Army in WW2. He sent his youngest son, my father, into the Navy to fight in Korea. My father sent his oldest son, yours truly, into the Navy during the Vietnam War.  Now I send my son Max into the Army to likely fight in our latest war. All of the “Edwards boys” came back in one piece; I pray that Max will continue with that tradition! 

  Remembering all who serve!

I searched the internet for a Soldier’s Prayer and found many.  But none that was satisfactory for the feelings of relief, excitement and pride that I feel at this moment.  They use names for God I do not use, and ask for things I would not ask.  So I send my son off with two poems.  Both were written in the past, one a product of my pride at his earlier warrior efforts.  The second written with memories of my father in mind, longing for a dialogue that could never be, a dialogue I hope to someday have with my son. 

  War Games 

  

Warrior on the line!
Waves of geese 

    Pass overhead 

      Squawking in support 

As the ground forces 

   Surge forward 

      Tanks on the line 

   Fleet fast infantry 

      On the corners 

   HQ in the rear 

 The defense 

    Meets them head on 

       With a crash of pads  

          And helmets 

 Generals  

   Shout orders  

       From the sidelines 

JV football practice 

   My eldest son 

      Mans the right side 

         Of the attacking line 

  Handshake and a handoff to the Army!

What I Knew Could Never Be 

 Its taken a quarter 

 Of a lifetime 

 For me to learn  

 How to speak. 

 I was not raised 

To have opinions, 

 I was raised  

 To mouth my father’s words. 

I was raised to act proper 

 To be seen and not heard. 

 Don’t follow the crowd 

Follow me was the message. 

 He prefered to have me 

Be different from my peers? 

 Not to challenge him 

 With my questions of youth? 

 My spirit left home 

 Before my body. 

 It journeyed to the sea, 

 Driven away 

 In search of acceptance 

 And the wonders I knew to be. 

 I saw my father 

Only a few times in adulthood. 

 Superior I was, but sad I felt 

 At what I knew could never be, 

 A dialogue between father and son, 

 Two men, two voices 

Be safe son and know that you are loved! 

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Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 135                             Consecutive Days Blogging: 117

Today’s Mileage:  5                                             Total Trip Mileage: 948

How does it relate?

It has been a busy day here at the University.  I taught three classes, finished a letter to my son who is in Army boot camp, and delivered copies of my Mandala research proposal to the Art faculty.  I settled down to write my blog for today and decided to take a walk and share my thoughts with you.  My thoughts dwelled on the nature scene surrounding me on this chilly winter day.  My words formed a series of poems.  Here they are for your enjoyment:

Cycles

Sheets o f heavy gray clouds

Darken near the horizon

The ground and pavement

Bears the residue of an earlier rain

The winter air absorbs my breath

Adding to the chilly haze

Trees and bushes shiver in a gentle breeze

Bare of any protective foliage

 But there are signs of what is to come

With lengthening days and heightened sunlight

 Spring

 Robins seeking worms

At the edge of water puddles

 A chorus of bird calls

Fill the treetops circling overhead

 Poking up through a mat of fallen leaves

Bright green blades of the daffodils

And the surest sign of all

A pair of trees sheltered between two buildings

Wrapped with rows of soft red buds

and precious pink blossoms

Cycles

Some fast enough to see

Others slow enough to sense

Joyful welcome to a new season!

****

Costs and Joys

 My nose

And ears

Grow faintly numb

My lungs

Rejoice with each

Fresh chilled breath

The colors will return!

 ****

 Near the end of the walk

The bird chorus builds

To a roar

As if they call out in joy

At the sight of the sun

The sun – the sun

Breaking through the gray

Break Through!

****

 Always With the Questions

 Are all squirrels hyperactive?

Or have they found

    some secret caffeine source?

Or does this squirrel really believe

    I’d want his soggy nut?

 ****

 Towards the end of my walk I heard the sounds of someone approaching from the rear.  It was an old colleague long ago retired on his brisk daily walk.  I joined him for a short distance exchanging pleasantries and news.  He continued on following the parameter of the campus, I turned toward the looming brick structures, toward my office and a letter and a blog.  Sometimes friendships are like memories, diminished to a faint glow, residue of an earlier time!

Have a wonderful day I hope you too are visited by images of Spring and words that jigsaw into poems!

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