“Seeing My Life”

(February 23, 2019)

seeing my life through

forests of my tangled trees

reminds to trim beard*

*(Such reminders not usually acknowledged much less followed. Why fully reclined and hearing something interesting and yet unwilling to don those eye-thingees, I stare at my small world through a tangled forest of white, gray and black and some few remaining red-dish beard hairs as I daydream sometimes they represent The Wilderness Campaign landscape of lower and middle Virginia through which as a 12-year-old we passed a spring family hagria from New York City to Florida. What marvelous woods those were! Then, when I read of that War Between The States campaign I realized not all dreams should be desired nor followed. I saw much the same kinds of wildernesses along the slopes of northern South Vietnam’s Annamite Corderilla in 1970. A longtime fantasy is to retake those razor-ridged heights from the boulder-strewn highlands streams up through the triple-canopy forests to the unforgiving ridges, this time perhaps even walking the woodcutters’ trails instead of going on-line on our own clutching at thorny vines and small struggling saplings for support and surcease with each aching step carrying a solid my-weight in pack, flak jacket, camera and recorder and all that precious water – 10 canteens and two three-quart blivets, not to mention the precious weight-saving grace of stolen U.S. Army Long Rations (LRRPS dehydrated patrol rats) not to mention 27 mags of 15-to-18 rounds each of 5.56 and two bandoliers unshucked in the aluminum alloy pakframe into which always was inserted a six pack of Bud and an 11th cantten – this time metal and not plastic – containing medicinals donchaknow. Once weighed self at Battalion Aid Station on a story-visit: my pack weight 133 pounds. I weighed 145. August. 1970. I got there in January at 186. Wanna lose weight: become a full-time member of Uncle Sam’s Mountain Climbers (and ridge runners). By October the pack’s weight had not changed. But I weighed in at 135. Hey! Ya think we could book tours of weight-loss for the wealthy and entitled guaranteeing a 50-pound drop? Make a body rich, no?)

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