Thursday, July 1, 2010

Small Deeds

Journal Entry: July 1, 1862

Tonight, we will sleep on the wet roadside near the Chickahominy River. This falling rain may wash away the blood of the thousands lost today on Malvern Hill, but if this destruction continues, every person will be gone; every structure, every tree will be burned, and all that shall remain will be the detritus of this once sylvan paradise. There is little trace of the past and little hope for a future; there is only now, and all that I have to give now are the seeds from my pocket. I have a habit of keeping seeds from any fruit I had the pleasure to have eaten, because of stories told by my Ohioan relatives; the tales of Johnny Appleseed, who died around the time I was born. Now on the grim days, when I feel as though I have so little to give, I still carry a seed to remind me that it is not these great armies that change this world; it is the small deeds, the small seeds planted for someone you might never know. Perhaps, amid this destruction, if I can at least plant a seed, I have accomplished some small act of compassion. Perhaps one day, a tree grown from these small seeds might provide shade or sustenance to some other weary traveler.


  1. Reading this post, this entry, I felt as if I was right thre with this weary man...looking over his shoulder as he wrote these words...
    I could feel his grief...and his hope.
    I cannot express to you how much I love this. Maybe because I know my father would have adored it as well.
    For the years that I had him, I was immersed in civil war stories, artifacts and books...we even took a family road trip to visit EVERY major battlefield along the east coast.

  2. That was wonderful: seed as hope. Hope is what sustains us, in this life, always. And yes, detritus. A wonderful word. A word filled with endless possibility.


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