I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 11, 2018

100 years ago today

Smiling at you
I had a hard time this morning trying to decide on the right picture for this post, and I finally chose this compromise. It makes me smile to look at it, and I hope it does the same for you: I used the app in the Messenger program to give me a chance to put on makeup without actually having to do anything. Those are not my original rosy cheeks or lips, but it has such a cheerful feeling to it that I decided my readers would forgive me this indulgence.

Today is Armistice Day, also referred to as Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. I considered using one of the pictures that are all over the internet today taken 100 years ago to celebrate the end of World War I, which was supposed to be the war to end all wars. For those who know little about that war, the link above from the BBC will tell you everything you might have wondered about. Here is a small snippet from that website:
Armistice Day falls each year on 11 November to mark the day in 1918 when the fighting in World War One was stopped. The Allies and Germany signed an armistice in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne in France at 05:00. Six hours later, at 11:00, the conflict ceased. King George V announced that a two-minute silence would be observed in 1919, four days before the first anniversary of Armistice Day. The silence continues to be observed every year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Before I began writing this blog and searching the internet for information about events that happened long ago, I knew little about this conflict, and I remember after I moved here from Colorado a decade ago, I noticed many people wearing red poppy pins around this time of year. When I discovered that most of those people were Canadian, I began to ask about their significance. They come from a poem, "In Flanders Fields," written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor who wrote it in 1918. This link, along with the poem, will tell you a bit about the man and how the poem came to be so well known.

This time of year also brings to mind my son Chris, whose birthday was yesterday. He's been gone since 2002, but when certain anniversaries roll around, he is never far from my thoughts. When a person gets old, when there are so many anniversaries of both happy and sad events, one can be forgiven for not carrying around all of them and only bringing them to mind now and then. At least that's what I think. Otherwise, it would be hard to live in the present moment and be grateful for my current life, which is pretty darn good.

For one thing, I am happy to find myself living in Bellingham, where I've formed many friendships during the decade I've lived here. So many things that I thought at one time would never diminish from my daily life have faded away, such as skydiving. Once, every thought and everything I did during the week would be geared toward having a weekend of wonderful skydiving adventures. Now, it's part of the past and although I still belong to the USPA (US Parachute Association) and receive their monthly magazine, I no longer peruse every page and read every article. Instead, I thumb through it and then turn it over to my partner for him to read. It's part of my past now, along with being a mother. I will never stop being either a skydiver or a mother, but I am no longer active in either pursuit. 

I woke last night with a phrase in my head that I couldn't place: "The days dwindle down to a precious few." Of course the internet knew what it was from, once I put just those words into the search engine. It's from a song written by Sarah Vaughan, September Song. It's been around since the 1960s, and I probably have heard it throughout many decades. It's a little poignant, and certainly reflects my mood of the moment. It's lovely, though, and the last part of the song also reflects the importance of my relationship with all those who matter so much to me, with the words, "these few precious days I'll spend with you."

Now you've probably got that song in your head. There are so many different ways for one to listen to the whole thing, and I'll probably go ahead and do that at some point during the day. We have another beautiful day ahead, with lots of sun and cool weather, almost freezing out there right now. I'll do my morning exercises inside before heading off to the coffee shop. I'll probably have to scrape the windshield a little first, and I'll be wearing my warm fluffy down jacket and gloves, but before too long the sun will be shining and chasing away the fog, and whatever the day brings, it will be my task to appreciate it and be grateful for all that comes my way.

And with that, the tea is gone, hubby still sleeping quietly next to me, and the post is as finished as it's going to get. There was so much more I wanted to write about, but it will all keep for another day. My heart goes out to all those in California who are suffering from both another mass shooting and those terrible wildfires. Today, we will remember that exactly one hundred years ago, the first world war came to an end. I pray that all wars will one day be only a memory. Until that happy day, I wish you all good things and hope you will be well until we meet again next week.


Linda Reeder said...

Thank you for this post, and with that I will be on my way to getting my exercises done so I can enjoy a full, sunshiny day with my family.
Peace be with you.

Glenda Beall said...

" I pray that all wars will one day be only a memory."
Those are my sentiments, DJan. So many lives have been lost in useless wars where nothing good was accomplished. I need to learn more about WWI where I had uncles who were there, but I do know more about WWII, the last war that the United States participated in that we had a victory. Since then our men and women have died and been maimed for life, yet what was the victory?
I say old men in Washington make wars, and our young men and women, now, fight them and die. Did you notice, not one mention of our foreign wars was mentioned in the recent election? Does no one care anymore? Enjoy your day and every day.

Elephant's Child said...

Add me to those who hope and pray that all wars can become only a memory. A distant memory.
Have a wonderful day and week dear friend.

Gigi said...

Chris shares a birthday with The Husband and now that I know that, I will always have you and Chris on my mind on that day.

War is a terrible, terrible thing and like you, I hope one day there won't be any. I'm also praying that the mass shootings stop.

Rian said...

First of all, what is the messenger program? You used an app in the messenger program for your picture? Next, Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day? Always 11/11. Makes it easy to remember my first grandchild's birthday too. I also enjoyed reading a little history for that date. And I have the September song on my phone... sung by Willie Nelson. It is poignant.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I hope you have a good week:)

Arkansas Patti said...

Cute picture of you all gussied up with no effort:)) I have been reading blogs about WW1 and was stunned by the massive numbers of men who lost their lives. Wars are horrid and hopefully a time will come when they will no longer grace our earth. Not in my lifetime or yours but maybe someday.

Red said...

I remember the September song. Like most songs we hear them but don't listen to the words. Now with you tube I can check the words and listen. Yes, we certainly wear our poppies.

Linda d said...

Thank you for your kind words. This has been a sad year. We just were recovering from the Thomas fire from last year. The Borderline is a place my daughter goes and two of her friends were there that night. Now fire again.

Yet, the human spirit stays determined, doesn't it. Especially when we band together to lift each other up.

Mary said...

Beautiful post and I really enjoyed the poem and history of McCrae.

For some reason yesterday I felt really sad, in a poignant way, hearing about what was going on in France with Macron's good speech against nationalism and trump not going to the cemetery because of the rain etc. Then I’ve come across some beautiful sad poems, such as this, and then to top it off last night I watched On Demand, " Sarah’s Key." WWII scenario. It’s a hard movie to watch, but good, well acted, poignant.

It all just made me sad in looking back 100+ years and where we are today...where the world is today. It’s as if nothing was learned about conflict and war, good and evil, kindness and malice. And I think of those millions who died and I don’t want their lives to be in vain, but I’m afraid for our future.

William Kendall said...

Beautifully said.

Rita said...

I remember this song as sung by Ella Fitzgerald and had to go find it on youtube. So many people have sung it--wow!

The shootings and the fires--been so much tragedy all around. Makes love and kindness all the more precious.

gigihawaii said...

I did not realize that Chris died so long ago. I thought his death was more recent. So true that we want all wars to be a distant memory. Let it happen.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I love this post. And you won't believe this ... September Song is one of my all time favorite songs! Yes, I have loved that song since I was a teenager. And that has been a while ago! :-) The days definitely do dwindle down. I hope you will take a moment and listen to Willie Nelson's version at
Thank you for another excellent post and for your kind comments on my blog. Have a happy week ahead my friend!

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