Friday, June 29, 2007

Medicine Gifts (epilogue to Superstition Ride)

Silas ended up staying the entire week. He hung out by the pool, he flirted with the Pool Girls, he made me cook for him. A lot.

And we talked. We went over the events of the past week, a lot of processing of the sweat lodge ceremony. One point he kept making over and over was that I tend to get wrapped up in what's going on in Washington to the detriment of things happening right in front of me, that directly concern those around me. I have determined to spend much more energy on events that I can directly influence.

One thing that kept springing up regarding my wartime experiences is to try and come to terms with what might be the single most frightening aspect of the war.

How much I loved it.

I loved the thrill of combat. I would reach a place that I called "the zone" where I could taste metal in my mouth, I could hear the blood singing in my veins, where the world would slow down to the point of a slow-motion movie, yet, I was at regular speed. I felt like a god. I was also never before or since to form bonds with people like the ones that I formed with the folks who shared the line with me. Not any of my wives, my immediate family, my children, nothing came close. It might be one of the reasons that I have been through four divorces. It might be why I prefer to live alone rather than have to make space for a relationship that seems to be missing something. I don't know. I'm not trying to make a lot of judgement calls here. It's hard enough to honestly acknowledge how things are right now. I'm sure the process work will be a long time running.

There was a week's worth of work piled up. I slogged through like a trouper. There was also my big party to get ready for.

The beautiful Pool Girls are expecting their first child. They had floated a trial balloon to me about the possibility of my being the sperm donor, but I politely declined because I dreaded complicating our relationship. I don't do complicated well at all. They, along with their announcement told me that they decided to name the child after me. I asked "What if it's a girl? Stephanie? That was my 3rdX's name, it wouldn't do at all." Blonde Pool Girl (who is carrying the child) said "We thought about that. I remembered one of the first times we talked and I called you a harpist. You told me that the preferred term in Ireland was harper. So we decided that we are going to name the child Harper. After you." I thanked them profusely and have promised to stand as both a godfather, and an Apache Uncle.

My end of the menu was to make Blackened Rib Eyes, Two Shaker Lemon Pies, Killer Ass Cherry/Raspberry Pie, and White Chocolate Truffles at the special request of Silas. The rest of the food was brought by the other guests and we were not lacking anything.

We did our exchanging of medicine gifts. The Germans splurged to get Silas a beautiful Hudson Bay Blanket, four cartons of Lucy Strikes, and a new Black Stetson. He was thrilled and so were they to see their gifts so well received.

Schatzie brought me a Navajo saddle blanket. She fell in absolute love with Casey, my arab stallion. She rides like a cossack. She does total justice to my English style Hermes saddle that I almost never use because of my crappy knees. She also told me what she saw in the dream round. She had a vision of herself standing in Apache Pass where Tsebitsidah Ma'atose made her stand. Silas and I promised to help her make the trip sometime in the future.

Silas is braiding me another reata to replace the one that I gave to The God of All Ropers.

I am getting ready for yet another road gig. I'll be mostly incommunicado for about ten days. Schatzie and Ingrid are going to stay here to feed the horses and shovel poop.

Be well my friends. Be at peace with yourselves and the world.




Blogger BadTux said...

I was lucky enough to be born too late for Vietnam and too early for Iraq. So I never had the dubious honor of combat, and frankly am glad of it because I am a reluctant warrior, one who prefers to think rather than act. The phenomenon which you observe has some formal terms to describe it, but I suppose "adrenalin high" combined with "stress bonding" serves to describe it well. Having experienced one but not the other, I'm not well qualified to say much there.

Regarding changing what you can, and living with what you can't, that is all we can do, I suppose. People mistake my cynicism for defeatism. But it is possible to be cynical about the future, while still hoping and working for the best despite that cynicism. It is like one of my friends from work, a refugee who fled Israel to escape the Likud regime there, said back in the 2004 election, "Kerry is going to win!". I shook my head and said, "I wish he would, but he won't, because most Americans are stupid." That did not, however, stop me from donating money and running a blog (not my current personal blog) dedicated to exposing the extremism and stupidity of the Bush Administration. Hope for the best, and plan for the worst. Seems to be a common theme, whether we are talking desert journeys, or politics...

12:39 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

very nice. yes, i have seen that bond with friends that have been there. there is a place where wives and children, parents, even best friends that haven't served can go.
i have met a few that had that rush.
i think they had that waiting in them to be born in that place.
it is like they gave birth to themselves and their own child.
no one that i know came back the same as they went, nor did they come back like the vets of any other war.yet each man is still unique.
4 wives and no soulmate, but i think your own soul is still growing.
it was a wonderful story. thanks,

6:04 AM  
Blogger konagod said...

I didn't realize how much time had passed and there were the final three installments of this saga for me to catch up on. Damn, worth the wait!

Enjoy the gigs. Kick some ass.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Phydeaux Speaks said...

I waited until the whole series was posted before reading (I can't stand cliffhangers). Thank you for sharing this - an experience I will likely never have the chance to have.

Have a good road trip and I look forward to more posts when you return.

Thank you, again, mb.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Brynn Craffey said...

Hi MB, Brynn visiting here from Shakespeare's Sister. I'll confess this is my first time actually reading a post, otherwise was only here once before taking a quick look around.

Beautiful post, this. Whenever you speak of horses, saddle blankets, swimming pools, and such, I miss the western US and my old days around horses there.

Anyway, have you ever read "War Is A Force that Gives Us Meaning" by Chris Hedges? He speaks of the excitement and seduction of warfare. It's an excellent book and a very short read.

Here's what we'll do: next time you're in Eire, we'll meet in a Dublin pub and I'll give you Hedges' book and you can give me "The Looming Tower". What do you think?

2:01 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yes, i have that one brynn. but i'm sure we can find suitable books to trade anytime we wish. one of my favorite rooms in the house is the library. four walls of floor to ceiling shelves, one chair, one lamp, one table. it's about as close to a perfect place as i can think of.

i'm hoping to be back in the auld sod sometime in september. we might have to drag your butt out to the real country in the west (county kerry), but if we both make our best efforts i bet something can be arranged.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago, when Bill Moyers interviewed Joseph Campbell for PBS ("Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth"), Campbell also mentioned the war experience, and how veterans afterwards often remark that they have never before or since felt as singularly alive as they did when in combat.

Your experience is by no means unique in that regard.

The story has been an awesome read!

- oddjob

5:21 AM  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

That's the dirty little secret of war. It's addicting and intoxicating. I never got into the zone you describe but I do recall how amazed I felt at what I could do and how close I felt to my buddies in the bush. That's probably why it's never been far from my mind.

12:17 PM  
Blogger s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

12:51 PM  

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