My weekend was great. A trip with a dear friend to a great place. We shared our old memories, then shared the wisdom 20 years can bring to a life. We are the same. We are different. We are wiser, older. Etched with time and care, love and loss. As Robert often says,
'It is not the age, it is the mileage.' And so it also goes with friendships.
So we sat Sunday morning, together. No words. At the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. As the clicks of the heels rang in the silence, the sun was very intense and hot for November. The cloudless sky was bright blue. The leaves were falling.
The moment really cannot be expressed in words. The leaves were really the key. Like golden rain, or embers falling. They shimmered. They sang. It was a tribute to the fallen. As though they were symbols of the lives that were given in glory, in war, in service. My tears rained down, too.
I cried because of the lives given for me. My freedom. How I would feel if it were Ryan guarding, clicking his heels, carrying the gun with the bayonet. And my feelings about the tomb if Ryan were resting underneath its' marble base. Thinking about the unknown soldiers' sacrifice..I cried more. The guard turned toward us, and looked straight at me with my tear-stained face. He was incredibly young. I felt a surge of pride for him. And for America.
The guard changed. As we turned to go, more leaves rained down in a shower of gold. As the fall slips into the winter, the stones will remember the gold tribute nature which nature provided that day for the fallen. May we never forget the tribute they made with their lives, as they 'fell like embers.'
Red and gold they shimmer down
Setting fire to the ground
leaves that smolder on the ground
while lighting up the sky
Stones are cold as fire ignites
Rows and rows of stones in white
Stones they whisper to the night
With voices soft and cold.
Red and green, and blue is seen
Yellow is falling in between
And stones are white and still and clean
As the voices sigh
Trees are bare, the sky is gray
Remembering the yesterday
When embers fell, Like soldiers they
So gather up the leaves of gold
their story as it should be told
Of fallen ones, the soldiers bold
Their memory keeping.
Under stones of white.
And tributes of gold.