It is Veteran's Day, a day to honor the Americans who served in the armed forces.
"The War to End All Wars" ended on this day when the armistice was signed at 11 AM on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I wonder how 11 was chosen. Perhaps if it had been 12 AM on the 12th hour of the 12th day of the 12th month we truly could have ended war.
For me, it is a time to think about death. Young Mitchell died three years ago this evening. He is a focal point for me, an arrow into the expansiveness that I think death is. He opens me into all that might be, all that is, right now, this moment. He opens me into grief and sorrow which tenderizes me, so I am the pink in the morning and evening sky.
Anne Frank wrote: I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
And so it is, a world drenched in beauty. The autumn leaves fall and the trees are bare in their stretch.
A friend and his wife recently returned from three years living in Granada, Spain. They speak of the health of the people, which they attribute to olive oil, wine, and walking. On a warm night, everyone is out until 1 in the morning, grandparents, babies in strollers. Though not many people go to church these days, they still celebrate all the holidays, the Saint's Days, so if you don't speak Spanish, which my friends don't, you never know when everything will be closed for a celebration, a parade.
I think of how when I go to the grocery store here, there is often a loud speaker blaring about some disease or medication we need.
How different from communion in the streets.
I was reminded of that when I read this poem.
by Rafael Campo
While jogging on the treadmill at the gym,
that exercise in getting nowhere fast,
I realized we need a health pandemic.
Obesity writ large no more, Alzheimer's
forgotten, we could live carefree again.
We'd chant the painted shaman's sweaty oaths,
We'd kiss the awful relics of the saints,
we'd sip the bitter tea from twisted roots,
we'd listen to our grandmothers' advice.
We'd understand the moonlight's whispering.
We'd exercise by making love outside,
and afterwards, while thinking only of
how much we'd lived in just one moment's time,
forgive ourselves for wanting something more:
to praise the memory of long-lost need,
or not to live forever in a world
made painless by our incurable joy.