Three early morning trips to the local grocery store left me bomb-shelter-ready for a three-week air raid. The cat has enough cat sand; all meds are up-to-date, and vehicles are gassed up… just in case. Now, for the waiting and worrying.
I am reminded of being on ambush my first night of combat in Southeast Asia. That was fifty years ago and I still remember it was a very long, silent and anxious night. As a newly minted platoon leader, I recall feeling unsure if I would have the command presence to lead a group of seasoned combat warriors. My muscle memory wonders if the COVID-19 nights will be as long…and as anxious.
Then, my wife and I took a walk in the remote, gated community in which we live. We encountered neighbors walking their two dogs. Remaining on opposite sides of the street, we talked about our lives and families. It was the longest conversation we had ever had with them. A new house is being built down the street. The construction foreman answered our questions from a distance, all with patience we had not seen on previous walks. We noticed two giant ospreys sitting high in the trees near our house. They could have been mistaken for bald eagles. I wondered how often they had been nearby and we had not taken the time to notice them.
Since we had a package too large for the mail box, the mail carrier drove down our long driveway today to deliver it. Again, we kept our distance but talked with her about her challenges…neither rain, nor snow, nor corona virus. Two wrens are starting to build a bird nest on top of one of our front porch columns. Apparently, they have not been watching the national news.
Guarding an ambush site in Vietnam required each person taking a turn remaining awake from midnight until first light when everyone was wide awake. That first early morning on ambush started with new confidence that I would be fine. My infantry troops gave me lots of reassurance and “old soldier” tips without showing any signs of a dip in their respect. They were like my neighbors sharing stories in a tense time. And, that first morning started with a magnificent sunrise, exactly like the one that began today.