Saturday, February 28, 2015

War and Peace: Are the visions only in our dreams?

War and Peace:  Are the visions only in our dreams?

Tonight, I must perform guard duty, which means protect my fellow soldiers from enemy attack.  “Malone,” the call was made, and I must leave my cold hard cot for a foxhole.  The rest of the platoon settled in for the night.  Finally, I made it to the foxhole with a 50-caliber machine gun that sat in the center surrounded by sandbags built earlier that day.  Of course, I did not have real ammunition as this was only a training exercise, outside Fort Bliss, Texas, in a strategically selected spot.  Wow, I did not realize how cold it gets at night in Texas.  My cold-weather gear did not seem to keep me as warm as I thought it should. 



Once positioned in the foxhole, I began stargazing.  This night was an excellent opportunity to take advantage of my favorite past time.  After spending several exhausting days of playing war games, I amazed myself with the energy I had so late at night. The sky appeared forbidding yet magnificent with billions of stars twinkling brilliantly. While attempting to locate some of the constellations among the blanket of stars something amazing happened.  A shooting star dashed in front of me!  Well, it was blasting through the sky at the main campsite where my comrades were asleep. The vast ocean of stars had a way of tricking my senses.  The distance between the shooting star and me might have been greater than I imagined.  Still, the shooting star was meant for me that night.


The cries from wild coyotes who seemed only a couple of sand dunes away made me wonder if they too noticed the shooting star.  Oh, the pack of wild coyotes could have caught the scent of a black-tailed jackrabbit.  I saw jackrabbits running over the dunes earlier in the day.  Like the coyotes, I too had a desire to cry out from a deep hunger into the silent night.  I was without proper nourishment for days, a forced fast if you will.  However, I refrained from shrieking out into the vast darkness. My attention changed to pain in my rear from sitting so long in one spot.  I was very aware of my place in the world at that moment.  I shifted around trying to get blood flow back into that region.  Suddenly, I noticed in my peripheral vision a creature with pinchers about five inches long moving closer to me.


On closer view, I realized it was a giant hairy scorpion known for its aggressive nature and painful sting.  My recent shuffling around in the foxhole apparently sent an unintended vibration out, and now the hairy desert scorpion’s crosshairs are set on me.  This notorious creature that wanders the desert has my undivided attention.  I lit a cigarette and pondered my situation as it moved in my direction.  It’s only 2:30 and I have several hours to go. However, this unexpected adrenaline boost will keep me wide awake throughout the remaining hours of guard duty.  Once the hairy scorpion reached the top of the berm, I decided to use the end of my M16 rifle to divert this menace to society into another direction.  Fortunately, it only took a few minutes of prodding and off it goes.


At this point, I couldn't help but drift into a meditative state.  Of course, it is like my regular meditation sessions, reoccurring thoughts of everything that happened that day, all the things I need to accomplish tomorrow, and a comprehensive awareness of all the aches and pains in my body.  As I stared into the mesmerizing space in front of me for several minutes, my thoughts faded away, and my pain subsided as a deeper level of consciousness took over my being.  Then, an overwhelming feeling of sorrow engulfed my heart.  This feeling was more intense than the woe of loss, disappointment or misfortune of which I already had my share.  This desolation carries the weight of the world. The feeling lingered for a while, and I started to imagine in my mind’s eye the scorpion.  Had I merged with the scorpion or was I the scorpion?  A small ugly creature that is all alone in the world carrying a poisonous, fearsome, and deadly reputation.  I can hear my name being called by my fellow soldiers (M) alone... (M) alone, as the echo fades into nothingness. 


Can I ignore the poisonous venom inside me as reflected by the scorpion?  Is the Creator watching me move about in the desert of my making and politely directing me away until I grow beyond the lower elements within myself?  Have I lost hope for humanity?  At age twenty-four, in a place of desolation, I had to distinguish my fantasy world from what I perceived as reality.  I started to review my experience of the military.  Moreover, the military appeared to me as a microcosm of how our world operates.  Is division and fighting all we are capable of doing?  More importantly, I realized that I am the ugly creature and cannot separate myself from those lower aspects of my being.  Not confronting vices within my being has falsely urged me to face others as if they are the enemy.  I’m not acting out of fear, hatred, jealousy, or pride is what I tell myself consciously! I must have a war to find peace is the illusion created by this thinking.  Is this not a split personality?

I was compelled to fire up another cigarette.  The cigarette was to comfort my cold body and to bring me back to the foxhole. Yeah, I'm definitely outfoxed and in a bit of a hole here in the desert, on a cold night, and weary of battle. War games with a nonexisting enemy are undoubtedly what the whole world is unconsciously playing too. Why would anyone choose this experience? 

There are many more exciting and pleasurable experiences to have in the world.  There are no atheists in foxholes!  My discomfort has forced me to look up.  I heard a gruff voice calling out “Malone,” “Malone,” “Malone your time is up!”  Am I hallucinating… Has God come for me now?  No, I see a silhouette of a human walking toward me slowly.  Preparing to leave my post was not an eloquent changing of the guard.  My replacement exclaims, “Sorry I took so long all the dunes look the same.”  I replied, “I hope I can make it to the tent before sunrise and wake-up call.”  Finally, I reached the camp site and my tent.  I moved slowly and carefully while peeling off my gear as my comrades slept.  The steel pot on my head was like cement and reminded me of how dense I've become.  I have a few hours before a new day starts.  Down I go.

My body melted into the hard bed, and I was dead to the world as my consciousness drifted deeper into the night.  In a REM state, I found myself wandering about in an unrecognizable place.  However, I did notice familiar faces passing by and in the background.  Maybe it was some gathering because I saw family, friends, and unknown characters doing ordinary activities.  There was a brightness from behind me that captured my attention.  As I turned to face the opposite direction, a human-like figure approached me and stated, “Follow me.”  “Don’t be afraid.”  The figure gently grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the gathering of people.  As I walked along, my first reaction was to turn back and look at those people left behind.  I said in a mumble, “what about them?”  I raised my voice, “what about the rest?”  The figure quietly replied, “Come. We must go.  You don’t need to worry about them.”  Without any more hesitation, I turned and walked forward with the bright figure.  To my surprise, instantly I was transported to another dimension. 

                                          
I found myself inside a different room.  It is a room without a roof!  It has the framework of an average room, and there are fixtures inside as a standard room would have such as furniture. I could feel the balance between structure and expansiveness in the surroundings.    
      
The view of the sky was breathtaking.  I noticed a cloud formation, that formed a hole like a torus in the heavens and wondered to myself is this how we transported to the room?  Yes, the brilliant figure answered, and with an approving tone.  When I looked back at the cloud formation it was gone and so was the figure.  Lured to the opening which had no door, I ventured outside to find a Garden of Eden. The radiance of the extraordinary life forms emitted an intense energy.  I could feel the ripples as if it were ocean waves bouncing against my skin.    

I heard voices, in the distance, which grew stronger as I moved ever so cautiously.  Somewhat afraid of a possible encounter, I found a bush to hide behind as I listened intently.  My senses seemed to fine tune into their conversation, and I was astonished.  What I was hearing was so alien to the world I knew.  And, yet, something that I have longed for that I could not help but yell out “I can’t believe it is true!”    

I sprang upward in my cot to see several glaring angry faces yelling at me, “shut up!” “Go to sleep idiot!”  The dream was over!  As real as that world may have seemed it was only in my dream.  War and Peace: Are the visions only in our dreams?  Is it possible to have the "room without a roof?"

© February 28, 2015, Betsy Banfield Malone   
      
Thanks, Terry (my ex-husband) for encouraging me to write down my dream and eventually creating the post for today.  It took twenty-eight years for me to articulate my idea... of going to school, learning to be a writer, and posting this story.    
      
            

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