Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day


What do I remember? A hot day in May, riding my brothers’ old three-speed bicycle to school, twelve years into my life, 3,000 miles on the odometer, seat-springs squeaking, oil and dust on the chain, tire walls finely webbed, the vineyard smell and houses along the way, clotheslines and chicken coops, looping sparrows, a tractor’s growl. I remember sailing deep into the abiding mission and purpose of things, deep into their hum and steady wonder. I remember the sweat on my palms when I arrived, and the glad tightness in my thighs. I still have my uncle’s pipe. My uncle, dead in the war.

7 comments:

Janice said...

You have shared a memory that is written so beautifully on the ugly subject of what this day is about. Men and women who have given their most precious gift...their lives, so that those of us who remain will have peace and freedom. Sadly when one war ends...another will take it's place. It has been proven over and over in the history of man. I have a deep respect and gratitude for those who have fought and died and for those who have fought and lived. I wish we could bring our troops home and never have to send them away from home again...

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

I like so much how you can write this

""... I still have my uncle’s pipe. My uncle, dead in the war.""

yes the objects that belong to us, define us ...

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Janice. It’s useful to name and number our wars as a point of reference, but it’s my feeling that we’re only fooling ourselves when we think of them as separate events. I think there is and has ever been but one war, and that is the war inside us. The larger wars that we live through and die in are a manifestation of the inner battles we fight, and of our daily actions in the world.

Laura, your post today is wonderful. What you say about the objects in our daily lives is so true. And in a way, we belong to our objects. Thank you.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

thank you William ! This make me happy, really :-)

Wine and Words said...

I just came back from listening to the 101st Army Jazz band. They played the theme song for every division of the military while those who had or are enlisted stood. I got teary as I always do, having been hand in hand with this death...the son of a dear friend. It is always with me...hard, hard memories and sadness that wick to the surface at the mere hint of a flame. Pride too. Much pride and gratitude.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Annie. Multiply that by countless millions the world over, and still we do not learn. I can only hint at the effect war has had on me, and on my family. Military music, marches, flags, and fly-overs sicken me to the depths of my heart and soul. I hope you will understand, even as I understand the pride and gratitude you feel. I look at my uncle’s purple heart and uniform and cap, and then I look at pictures of the girl who would have been my aunt, the mother of my unborn cousins, and all I see is waste. I’m fifty-four years old, and that’s long enough to know that I will carry that regret to my grave.

Wine and Words said...

It's not a win-win. Never can be. The whole of it is hard.