Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Warring Season

Journal Entry; March 12, 1865; Five Forks, Virginia

The air is altered this morning, lush with life, full of sound and sway.

Two squirrels scurry through the trees, each mouth full of leaves for fresh dreys. We wait, while winter leaves. The crow caws, sending out the news, as if we didn’t know that change is in the altered air. The crow’s cousin, in a treetop ninety feet north, answers the caws, a coarse duet, until a call of vireos joins in like piccolos; a welcome spring symphony as winter leaves. I close my eyes; letting the warm sun wash my face; I listen a bit before a wagon’s rumble overrides the song.

When I listen alone to the rustic world, everything is as it was, forever, before this. Spring is budding and simple creatures are mating, making nests, singing in celebration. I was of that world before the war, but now I am between two worlds. One world dances, coupled with life; the other marches alongside death. Winter leaves and war commences, as it has each spring for three years. This will surely be the last season of war; Virginia is a wasteland with nothing left to sustain the armies in this siege. The high north punishes the deep south on Virginia soil and her children will be left lacking when the armies go home.

When I go home; if I go home, how will it be; who will I be; being from these two worlds. I am like the red-tailed hawk and common crow sitting in the oak together; should not be so; mortal enemies so close; what will Marianna make of this pairing, this man of two minds.

Yesterday, a hawk swooped down to within five feet of my face, before lifting into a hemlock ten yards past me. Surely a sign. Or simply an obstacle on his way towards a flutter of sparrows distracted by spring’s promise.

Hawk is pure and perfect spirit; he is never distracted; he has one course and stays to it. Hawk is who I am in the midst of battle alongside Death, who gives no quarter. I have seen Death’s hollow face and no longer hold its fear.

Crow knows he lives in an imperfect world, so he adapts to the daily changes in that world. Crow is who I am when the battle is done, coupled with life, charting its changes. I have seen that everything is change and no longer hold its fear.

We shall soon be released from this warring season. Who will lead me home; which do I follow; Hawk or Crow? Will we wander between the pure and the imperfect, never finding home, or can we walk in both worlds and no longer hold fear?