And with that I pay homage to my favorite author. The first person to tell me who he is gets...well nothing, but the satisfaction of a job well done. How’s that for a prize?
Either way, since I have nothing to write about here, I’ll let you know what has been running through my ridiculously unoccupied brain. So here’s what I came up with.
I had a guard shift tonight. The Army’s eternal answer to what a soldier should be doing. Guarding something. What was I guarding? Hell if I know, I wasn’t paying attention, I was reading Time magazine and listening to my iPod. (Seriously, how did you old farts kill time in a war before these things?)
Anyway, so I saw something while I was on this guard shift that kind of threw me for a loop. I looked up in the air because there was a very strange sound coming from about 20 feet above me. So I looked and what did I see? Fucking bats. Hundreds of them. Flying this way and that, dive bombing all over the place and basically turning the night sky into a symphony of motion that I don’t think I have ever seen before.
I took to throwing little stones up in the air and watching how these creatures reacted to them. Each time I launched a pebble up into bat country, they would swoop and dive at it. Apparently, little rocks look like lunch to a bat.
What do these bats have to do with anything? Nothing really, but they got me thinking. Oh, boy here he goes thinking again.
What was I thinking about? Wanderlust. Concurrently, my best and my worst trait. Its one of the things that drove me to join the Army. That and a lack of anything better to do. And it is definitely part of what drove me to volunteer for this big bag o’ suck.
Its my best trait because it has got me out of the house. Got me to get the hell out of my comfort zone and go and see the rest of the world. Ripped me out of destructive times in my past. And given me a much richer and fuller life.
Conversely, it has torn me away from my family for years at a time. Showed me some of the worst places on earth. Thrown me into even more destructive times in my past. And has even gone so far as to almost end my life on several different occasions. (Not all of them in Afghanistan.)
Where in the hell did that come from? Came from the fact that I can’t think of ever having seen a few hundred bats doing what bats do, 20 feet from my head at home.
That’s why I wonder about some people. I don’t think ill of them, I just wonder how one can live a life that is spent close to home. I know guys back home that were born, grew up and live, all within a 20 square mile radius.
This, to me, is utterly depressing. I mean a few trips to the Dells and maybe one or two to Las Vegas is enough for them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Las Vegas, but it certainly isn’t Vladivostok, Russia!
So I sat there staring at the these bats flying around, and I started to think of all the things I have seen and done in my life that most people never get to do.
And I was thankful. To whatever God may be...
Then that line from a book, that became the title of this post floated through my head. “We can’t stop here.” Being the most important part.
Not dead yet. Still got places I haven’t seen yet, and this my well traveled friends, is not acceptable.
Not dead yet. Still got shit to do.
Not dead yet. Still got things to accomplish.
Maybe that will be the best thing that came out of this deployment. Maybe this is just what I needed to remind me of what life was, and can be. You see I lost that wanderlust for a few years. I got out of the Army and I came home, went to college and got a job. Well, those things do not lend themselves to moving around.
Then again, maybe I’m nuts. Which is probable.
But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not dead yet...and we sure as shit can’t stop here!
I love you Mom...