PuckSeptember 17, 2004 at 9:26 pmPost count: 55
I hiked over four miles, most in the dark, rain and fog so that I could fly a flag over West Bond for two hours the next day. Normally people would think I am nuts to make such a trek for such a reason. But to do this as part of a living memorial commemorating 9-11 I was viewed as a patriotic citizen. Yet I really did this for myself. I was on a solo hike to one of the more remote peaks were I could ruminate and reflect on where my country and I were then and now.
September 2001 I was recently divorced and going through a crisis. I was well on my way to fulfilling my dreams and potential yet I hit the lowest point of my life.. I had sloughed off the old me and it lay in a heap of ashes all around. Then the 11th came. People, firemen and police officers were buried in rubble and ash. These people had families they were plucked from their prime. I knew the World Trade Center. I went to school one block away every month. This event happened in my world, my backyard. My sleep was disturbed by a dream of me walking in the ashes and rubble, digging up a buried fireman. “You can go home now.” I would say to him. “I will take your place. You have a family. I don’t. You should be home with them.. These are my ashes.”
Then out of the ruins was the American Flag. Everywhere were flags. A few weeks latter I took my son to a hockey game and started to cry during the Anthem. This flag of ours always is “gallantly streaming” after perilous fights and long nights of bombardments. When we are down in the ashes is when we are at our best.
Three years later I am doing well for myself, I am remarried and starting to build a professional practice. My son is thriving. I have grown spiritually, and I am happy with everything or I have created a wise silent acceptance for the things I can’t change.
I found the wonderful opportunity to spend a two hour vigil with the American Flag as it flew over a Pemi wilderness. I recall that this land had been burned out almost 100 years ago. The area had been reduced to ashes for decades. Now through the ashes there is the most beautiful forest of spruce, fir and birch. So the flag, the forest and mountain and I were one for two hours. All coming out of tribulations and turmoil. All with a future that could go either way.
The Pemi could become neglected if people lost their sense of stewardship. I could become complacent, I could settle for less or I could lose focus of what is important for my life, I could live in fear. The flag could represent the worst of America if we were to soon forget. To forget our hardships that we have come through as a country. To forget the sacrifices vets and others have made to protect our right, freedoms and our responsibilities. And to forget the truths that we hold to be inevitable for us are for all humanity.
As I drove home Saturday night I passed sleeping houses and thought something like the attack of 9-11 could happen. And nobody would know what hit them. Life can pass in an instant. When it is my time were will I be and what will I be doing? I hope to be on a mountain. I had a great day. I leaned back into my car seat and turned up my music to listen to a classic;
So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.Jaytrek57ParticipantSeptember 18, 2004 at 12:03 amPost count: 263
Great Floyd song. 😀
And great story Puck. 😀 :flag: 😀FrodoParticipantSeptember 18, 2004 at 2:14 amPost count: 331
Powerfull story Puck. Thanks for sharing it with us… Your words are the epitome of why we all participate…
I was honored to meet you, and I look forward to seeing your flag proudly flying next year…
:flag: :flag: :flag:
Also gret Floyd reference… 🙂PuckSeptember 18, 2004 at 8:07 pmPost count: 55
Thanks guys for the feed back.
Frodo it was nice meeting you and your daughter. She was at the bar with her milk and french fries. She looked very cute in her Red Sox visor. We had a nice conversation about her hike to Madsion hut and her experience with the flag…we did touch upon one problem that should be addressed next year…we need to keep everyone posted on the Red Sox scores. Nobody knew because everyone was in some remote campsite or hut without NESN. 😆SilentCalModeratorSeptember 19, 2004 at 10:29 pmPost count: 1284
Awesome story Puck! Everyone has a powerful story and sharing it always makes it better. Glad to have met you at the Moose!dirt_girlAugust 2, 2006 at 7:34 pmPost count: 303
This is beautiful, an astute piece of the human soul.
Well written, Puck!
Two years later it moved me as if I was reading it for the very first time.
dirt_girlMtnMagicAugust 2, 2006 at 9:16 pmPost count: 372
Absolutely of the most profound reads I’ve ever had, then and now! I’m certain our readers will agree. Thank you Puck!
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