Hard to believe.
65 years seems like almost a lifetime ago and yesterday at the same time. 1951 and the last place on this earth I wanted to be was fighting a war in Korea. I suppose there’s some comfort to be had knowing you were going to make it through this fight, this war. The innocence of youth, perhaps. Might have been knowing the men fighting with you were trained to do their job and fight for your life as I was theirs. We did our job, we fought the best we could, and most of us did come home.
Who could have known 65 years later I’d be fighting again. Another damn war...
I didn’t sign up for this fight.
This time the war is one I knew full well going into I was not going to win. The men who fought with me 65 years ago aren’t here. This is something none of us were trained for.
This war I have to fight alone.
I have lost most of my strength. I can't feel my legs. I know it will be over soon. I know that I've done my best and fought as hard as I could. I know that there is not much sand left in my hourglass.
Ironic almost, how this being Memorial Day Weekend, 65 years has come full circle.
I taught math all across the great state of Wyoming for 28 years. I've caught more fish at Pathfinder than most people have fishing stories. I've had a blessed life. I know a pretty good boy who has always been a much better writer than me, and I've asked if he wouldn't mind helping an old man out. 86 years is a pretty good run and soon the war will be over.
Love you grandpa. Hope I've made you proud.
Listening to the quiet. . . by Jeremy Rogers June, 2016 (Grandson of John B. Maher)
The open road is a quiet and lonely place indeed. The desolate wasteland that was my trek this day, morphed into something unconsciously perfect. Southbound to nowhere, I approached mile marker 60 the eerily familiar sawed off plateaus began to appear.
An upward tick pursed my lips as I recounted the legend of the buffaloes I’d been told a thousand times by an elderly gentleman who happened to pass a DNA strand or few my way.
Mile marker 57 appears and in the jagged alcoves of the prehistoric rock formations the predatory raptors are circling effortlessly. Pausing, as if held by an invisible thread, before the descent. Using supersonic vision to find through the sagebrush any signs of vermin life. It is feeding time indeed. Mile marker 56 brings a trio of magpies. Pecking away at the corpse of a skunk who dared to tread too close to the white line to my immediate right.
Mile marker 52 approaches and the silhouette of a cowboy on his horse begins to appear. Within seconds, his faithful dog becomes visible. Motionless they remain, as if frozen in time. Perhaps reflecting, as I am this day, about the tale of the herd of stampeding buffalo heading over the edge with the same speed and force as a locomotive.
The smile that pursed my lips earlier turns.
The quiet of the open road I’ve been listening to becomes deafening.
My heart knows the next time I traverse this path, the man who told me about the buffaloes will be gone.