He touched the cold earth beneath him. He then rolled onto his side, cradling his arms and let the first yawn escape him. He wiped moist eyes, and a shiver fell through him. He felt for the wool, pulling the blanket up to his shoulders while adjusting the jacket beneath his head acting as a firm pillow. A few stars poked through the blackness in the heavens above, and off in the distance the horizon gave way to blurs of pink and purple while dawn felt for the skies.
When he stood, orange skies pushed the blackness away, and a western meadowlark gave chorus in song and blessing. He caught the whiff of sage and stretched while gathering the blanket and jacket. He felt the hard earth beneath his boots and started for his vehicle. Coyotes began off in the distant range, they laughed something horrid while deep shadows from the high plateaus kept them from being sought after.
Early sunlight reflected off the windshield, dew began to evaporate off the hood. He felt for the handle, opening the door while his eyes squinted, searching the large hills off to the east, where deep draws caused even deeper shadows. He tossed the jacket and blanket onto the passengers side, then grabbed a wash cloth from the small bridled twill bag from behind his seat. He then shut the door.
He found water in a rusted trough not far from his Trooper, along a barbed wire fence where a corner post stood adorned with patches of chartreuse lichens. The mirrored surface within the trough caught ahold of his reflection. A blackened figure with deep blue as its backdrop staring back, lacking detail other than that of a dark image from some other world. He dipped his hands below the surface, shattering the silhouette with ripples that felt for the walls then fell back on themselves. He cupped his hands and brought up the chilled water and splashed his face. He repeated the process a few more times, then wiped his face dry with the checkered cloth.
Orange skies turned to blue, clear and unobstructed, and he thought they had a curious way about them in the early hours. Off in the distance he could make out a dozen head of cattle, slowly shifting through a maze of sage and coming to a patch of rye some half mile away. Over to the far south lay the desolate highway, where reptilian creatures slithered and crawled over a bed of cracked asphalt.
Returning to his Trooper, he opened the door and climbed inside. He looked out his windshield at the vastness of the land, and he felt whole, felt blessed.
That was me, some years ago, and I honestly believe that my freedom is nothing short of a miracle. There are times when I take life for granted, I often think of the things going on around me, and I’m always thankful for those who serve and protect, and those who are there but go on unseen, hidden in a world cloaked in layers of secrecy. My many different trips, they couldn’t have been granted without God and those making them possible by protecting me and everyone else for that matter against some crazed lunatic with a dirty bomb in a bag or briefcase. One of my mentors had once said, “One dirty bomb can ruin your entire day.” How true that is.
Our country is in a fight for its life. I truly believe that. I think that we’ve been turned against each by the powers that be, and that by design we are faulted and a mess, but then my mind goes back to those who take freedom seriously, who take patriotism to a whole new level, and who would die for you. People like that I respect, I hold high. Some are remembered, names adorned on plaques, and some are never mentioned.
While I type this, shivers go through me, thinking of those who died for my freedoms, those whose names I witnessed at the River Front, and for those whose names will never be made public, only a star at Langley, one of the 87 signifying that they too bore their blood for my freedom.
Never are they to be forgotten. Never.