If you stand and listen long enough, you begin to hear whispers in the wind.
Perfectly peaceful, there’s something far too orderly about a war cemetery cradling the lifeless remains of those who unwittingly made the ultimate sacrifice.
One wishes places like this didn’t exist, and never existed. It seems so utterly bewildering that they must exist at all. But so long as some men foolishly follow the orders of other men and believe the lies they’re told about still other men, oblivious to imminent peril, there will always be places on every continent, in every country like the Mierlo War Cemetery in Holland.
Drive but a few kilometers east of Geldrop, down a lonely roadway engulfed by a canopy of oak trees, and you’re liable to miss it, there on the left side, except for the red sign marking a green meadow cluttered with rectangular white stones. Maintained with great dignity by the Dutch Government at the behest of Great Britain, this is the final resting place of British soldiers who were part of the wave of what would eventually become the liberation of Europe during World War II, thus putting an end to human history’s most deadly conflict.
In Maaseik, Belgium — October 25, 2013
A wonderful mostly-forgotten gem by one of my favorite musical artists, the marvelous and mystical Van Morrison…..
“When the Leaves Come Falling Down”
From the album Back on Top (1999) by Van Morrison
I saw you standing with the wind and the rain in your face,
And you were thinking about the wisdom of the leaves and their grace,
When the leaves come falling down.
In September, when the leaves come falling down.
Nothing worked. When I tried to starve myself, I’d start having food fantasies. Most men dream amorous thoughts. Well, instead of tits and ass — I dreamed hot fudge sundaes, bags of potato chips, and half gallons of ice cream. For me, a visit to Cold Stone Creamery was as good as a blow job.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.
I hate running.
But the aftereffects and benefits to pounding the pavement are irrefutable — life changing, in fact.
Yes, life changing.
Today marks the second anniversary of that giant first step — the decision to get healthy again. And so I thought this would be a good time to look back, learn, and reflect on this experience which I hope will inspire and motivate others to make their own life’s changes.
Imagine a movie nearly 50 years in the making.
Next, imagine an unscripted story where no one knows what’s going to happen, or what the actors are going to do or say.
In 1964, Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough, The Chronicles of Narnia), then an aspiring British filmmaker in his early 20s, went out and interviewed several children. These children shared a common characteristic. Each child was 7-years-old.
The children were selected at random and were asked some basic questions. They were scattered throughout various regions of England. Rich and poor, black and white — they represented different races, religions, and social classes. They possessed entirely different attitudes. Each was questioned about their lives, their dreams, and their expectations for what the future might bring. Typical of most children, their answers were completely candid, unfiltered by self-serving biases and well-guarded hesitation that gradually comes with maturity. The kids told it like it was.
Little did anyone connected to the film know it at the time, but these deeply personal in-depth interviews comprised of children revealing themselves in front of the camera (there were 14 children in all) marked the beginning of a lifelong odyssey which has since become an extraordinary documentary series now 49 years in the making.
Monday mornings epitomize new beginnings. And so it was on October 7th, 2013. A new beginning.
But this particular Monday morning — so wonderfully warm and beautifully bright as the early hours are so often this time of year — was even more splendid. We were blessed with a special guest staying in our home. This was a rare intersection in all of our lives — to be together.
Ion Petre, my beloved brother-in-law, had come to visit us in Las Vegas from his home in Eindhoven, Holland. He was to stay with us for a months time. Oh, they joy of that. We tend to be a happy family, but the house was a more cheerful place with Ion around. He always had that amazing effect on the people around him.
We had so many exciting plans. So many shows to see. So many restaurants to visit. So many new places to go. So many new people to meet. Indeed, one of the great things about living in Las Vegas is experiencing things both old and new through those you love the most. It’s a far greater joy than seeing them alone by yourself.
The day was all planned out. This Monday morning was to include a short run in the 72-degree weather, followed by a lunch together at a favorite local Italian restaurant. We also considered making a hike up Lone Mountain that afternoon, which has a magnificent view of the entire Las Vegas Valley. That same evening, I was so excited to take Ion to meet many of my friends as a Monday Night Football watching party. It would have been Ion’s first time to watch American football. What a joy that would have been.
Such a full day. We had so many plans.