“Surf Style” Oil on board
Zentangle and travels with pen and ink.
New Window 10/10/2015
Close up- in progress
“Fading from Red” Oil on reversed glass
On September 7, 2005 in Helmand Province Afghanistan, a Suicide bomber detonated a vehicle borne IED a few feet away from me. 8 local nationals died instantly to include a young boy on a bike. I was knocked out and lucky to be alive. No other Americans were injured. I feel that there is a piece of my soul left behind, lost, and confused back in Afghanistan.
Today is the tenth anniversary. Wounded vets refer to it as their Alive Day. I feel extremely lucky and grateful for the life I have. A sense of renewal has taken root. As you know, I like to share every morsel of goodness with friends and family. Ramping up to this day is always tough, yet this year has been nothing short of a miracle.
My intent was to extinguish the negative past and celebrate the new normal. As fate would have it my alive day would be at Snowbird, where all of my fondest childhood/young adult memories are based. The perfect location to bring in a new chapter of my life. The reunion with the Bounous family was pre destined by a higher power. (I needed that extra boost from those I admire most) Deciding where to go on the mountain to pay homage was so eloquently suggested by 90 year old Junior Bounous:
“Find a nice patch of flowers”
I followed his advice and started up the mountain in the pre dawn hours. As I hiked I was Flooded with emotions and planned a ceremonious burial. I brought with me the sleeve from my uniform that contained the blood and charred remains of the blast.
The crescent moon was my guide and slowly the light softened into the pastel shades of morning. The stillness interrupted by chirping and rustling chipmunks. The tops of the peaks were painted by the first rays of sun. I found a nice patch of flowers with a commanding view of the valley below, and the rocky crags above. Then I dug using a wedge of wood I found on the race hill. I placed my past into the shallow crater.
I said a prayer with gratitude, I asked for forgiveness for the things I saw and did while deployed. I prayed for those heroes whom did not return. I prayed for those who are preparing to deploy. Lastly I asked for guidance in how to live with honor and purpose.
I covered my little plot with flowers and granite, and felt instantly relieved. A weight has been lifted.
Thank you all for making my life meaningful. I am on my way back to the Midwest where I feel safe, amongst the lakes and trees. Furthermore the most important life additive; is the people we surround ourselves with. You make my world a better place.