War Dead

President Obama was asked at his news conference last night if he were going to change the Bush Administration policies of forbidding news coverage of coffins returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he would review it.

For their own reasons, probably more political than concern for family grief, the Bush administration would not allowed any pictures of American coffins returning from war. Some, however, did appear on the Internet.

Granted it is a negative message that images of flag draped coffins send home and that’s why all administrations involved in war have kept images of these kind as quiet as possible.

What governments have always failed to acknowledge is that once a warrior is dead, politics end. The dignity of name is important to the validity of service, not only to the family, but to the social and patriotic permanence to our society. Heroes are honored, not hidden.

Hang the politics, these are our dead. They served by choice and honor. They died by circumstance and the hatred of another. Let us acknowledge their remains with images and names and bugle calls in public.

The Appledore

At first it was the sound. Creaks and cricks and moaning groans of teak wood joints in the planking of the deck as the internal timbers torqued from the blowing stress of wind in the sails. Wood on wood, a sound all sailors know.

Straining lines answered back to the groans.

I knew we were underway, but now it was confirmed by the splashing spray and snapping sails. Soon would come commands from the Captain to trim the mizzen sheet before he shouts, “ready to come about”.

The Schooner Appledore, an 86 foot wooden Windjammer, glided or’ and through the wave swells and white caps in the confluence of the Gulf and Atlantic waters. The spray was salty, but warm since the air was cold. The sun lowered closer to its green splash of light in the distant sea; its celestial candle dimmed for the coming dusk then darkened for the hours till dawn.

I am not a sailor, but I love to sail. My poets mind translates the wind to grace as I let it carry me to the lost horizons of time and the wonderment of what’s there.

The salted spray with its mist and aroma ignited my spirit in a liquid flame of awe and I felt my other lives and places on and near the sea.

The mighty clapping flaps of canvas sails slapped me back to the NOW and to the gusty folds of waning winds that heeled the boat to an awkward tilt. I stand with my back braced to the main mast and knees bent ready for instantaneous adjustments in balance. Shanty words come from somewhere in my mind.

“Hi Lo High, sailors cry when God’s on the water”.

The sea has always been measured by the sadness of time and tide and in the cries of separation. Family here, future there. Vast waves of hopes and wishes in between. Adventure? Yes! Fearful too, especially for those who love the result, but know not the process.

I am far more appreciative now of the early explorers who mastered the seas and set humankind on the path of expansion.

Heart Observations

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog then you know that for the past couple of weeks I’ve had the opportunity to make new friends and visit some old ones in Florida. It’s a different mind-set in the warmer climes. The elderly come to escape the cold and the young come to embrace the semi-tropical freedom that youthful hearts crave.

I talked to one interesting fellow who was a mate on a sailing schooner. He taught me how to raise the main and sweat the lines. He had his masters degree in another discipline, but was interested in writing. He seemed to have a hard case of writers block. He was harboring experiences from which to write, but couldn’t seem to find the time to let them sail or sale.

There is a creative energy in every experience we have. If your birth gift is to write then the mind transfers that energy to the heart where it is mixed with the divine spirit and sends it back to the mind as creative thoughts, sentences, paragraphs and stories. It works in a similar ways with other birth gifts like art, music, and sculpture except in those disciplines the energy goes into trained creative hands to manifest as paintings, songs, compositions and form.

Bosco (the Mate) if you read this, set a time each day, maybe two times, to write. Even if it’s ten minutes. Soon you will find that interpreting your experiences through words will be addictive and the blocks will be gone.

I went to visit Earnest Hemingway’s house and now museum in Key West. What a fascinating life he led and what great creativity came from his experiences. He once said he could write a story in six words. He did.

“For sale, baby shoes, never used.”

We each have a birth gift. Finding it is sometimes a lifelong task.

Climate and Cheney

Good Morning from cold Key West.

It’s supposed to be warm this far south in the good ol’ USA, but so far nobody told that to Mother Nature. Record lows they say. If I wanted record lows I would have stayed home where the low temperature this morning was minus two degrees. Oh Well.

The weather seems to be one of the two topics of interest and conversation this morning. The other one is television talk on the interview remarks of former Vice President Cheney suggesting that if the Obama Administration wants America to stay safe then they better keep the Cheney – Bush policies in effect.

Mr. Cheney has the same rights as the rest of us do in speaking his mind in a free society. However, common sense would deem it inappropriate for a just recent former official to suggest only his policies would keep America from terrorist harm.

It is time for Mr. Cheney to retire, mend his back and mind his mouth, plant some flowers and reflect on the rights he has usurped in his zeal to force his beliefs on the American public and the world through the catalyst of fear.

There I feel warmer already.