Mists rise from the muddy fields soaked from weeks of rain. The dawn sun peeks through the distant salmon colored clouds over the ocean’s plain… her golden rays carry a promise of warmth.

Am I ready to begin, another trek from East to West across this Great Land?

Pondering the scope of the path I look left but hear behind me…a fife and drums? This early in the morn with no one else around? I turn to see emerging from the mists three groups of soldiers, rain soaked, gaunt, unshaven, weary to the bone. Some clad in faded blue waistcoats, fabric so thin as to show patches of old white cotton next to their wasted skin…some in redcoats nearly as badly worn… some in pale beige linen mud stained in brown. They approach and join standing as one before me…silent…deep hollow eyes wondering at the spectacle before them… a ghost?… bright orange from head to toe, blue reflective lenses covering the eyes, some odd machine at his side…two wheels with bars of metal between. Their muskets hang loosely, some in hand, some strapped over shoulders slumped from years of war. I notice the wood of each stock, worn smooth with time, glistening in the early morning sun. How many times has each aimed and fired a musket ball into the approaching lines?

The grain of the wood is beautiful…I am reminded of a slick, worn bannister in a group home for the young blind…each sliding down backwards… caught in the arms of a loving headmistress … Squeals of laughter… ” Let’s do it again !!! “

Why that thought now on this muddy plain? Who truly understands the Mind?

The soldiers dare one step closer…” Are you one of us? Êtes-vous des nôtres?” “Yes and No… Oui et Non.”. I remove my sunglasses and we connect deeply eye to eye. They look again at the bike but find they are too tired and at a loss of words to ask what, who, when, or why? Instead from the depths of their souls: ” Will this soon be over? Will we be able to go home?” Blue, Red, White is of no concern, only “home”. I hesitate… “ Yes and No…but in the End…Someone will catch you in loving arms…” Silence… eye to eye they measure my response, nod a grateful thanks and turn to fade into the clearing mist, different flags fluttering behind long lines…

I do not have the heart to tell the Blues that in just a few short years their grandsons with musket in hand will be at war again…this time against each other. “ Will this be over soon? Will we be able to go home?” “ Yes and No”.

The sun’s warming rays now point due West and it is time for me to begin. I say a silent prayer for safety and give thanks. I look to see my Guardian Angel smiling…waiting…always ready to catch me… as I slide backwards down the slippery bannister of Life…

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