Vanessa I am so grateful you chose to step inside and join our Conversation. I too have observed the way the silent world of birds and beasts inclines toward our own inward peace. Perhaps taking care with words is a way of preserving the peace between us.
I am delighted to meet you James. Thank you for your gentle comments here and on those several posts past. You have the gift of simplicity!
And Gary, we meet as fellow travelers. Handcrafts, classics of all kinds, the Shakers, William Morris and the Kelmscott Press, and the tea ceremony were all important steps along our way to Innermost House. I look forward to answering every one of your questions over time.
I attended a Veteran's Day parade over the weekend. There must have been three hundred veterans altogether, men and women, old and young. Most walked. Some were in wheelchairs.
It was a very homely assemblage. None were in uniform, there was no formation, and no distinction of rank was made. There was nothing to distinguish them from anyone else until you looked into their faces.
There they all wore one expression, a look of earnest inwardness. They had shared a common experience of life and death. They had known Necessity. It was an expression of utter seriousness and selflessness. We were there with them, but they were in another world.
The simplicity and spontaneity of the march was as far from a military maneuver as can be imagined. People stood or walked alongside the moving parade, cheering out their encouragement and thanks. I just applauded and cried.
Veteran's Day does not celebrate a victory. It does not mourn a loss. It is simply a way of remembering, an acknowledging and giving of thanks. To me it is a fitting beginning to the Thanksgiving season.
A friend walked with me to the end of the parade route where some short speeches were given. He guided us into a perfect spot for watching the sun set over the sober gathering.
We found ourselves standing next to a man my friend recognized as a veteran, and asked why he wasn't in the parade. When I heard I encouraged him too, but we could not persuade him. So there we three stood together watching until my friend had to leave.
Afterward, when the man and I were left alone, I asked him about his experience. He had served in Vietnam. He wouldn't say much, but it was clear he was still haunted by it even after all these years.
He spoke of how divided he feels still, drawn to such gatherings and yet keeping apart, still torn by the tension of involvement in a world that left him a divided man.
I thought about him for the rest of the day, and I am thinking of him still. I do not know the right and wrong of things like war. But I am grateful to that man. And I am sorry. I hope he finds his way to an innermost place of peace.