It rained two inches yesterday. The ground is wet, but already, the sun and wind have moved ponded water from its place. The skin of the earth is a lighter brown as water settles deeper and the surface dries in the sun.
It is too wet for field work but a beautiful day all the same. My wife is in town, cleaning her classrooms and organizing projects for student pick up from a schoolyear called short, projects left unfinished. It is a unique year, but there have been others like it. There will be more in the future, whether in our lifetime or left for another generation to live.
I am writing outside, sitting in front of a laptop with the May sun upon me. It is something I once did regularly but quit when times, place, and circumstances changed.
Years ago, this was my normal Sunday. I lived in Virginia, and I would drive to Fredericksburg to sit among the historic streets, overlook the Rappahannock, or rest alone in an old market square beside a church once frequented by Robert E. Lee. I was a student of war, and this was where I went to reflect on then-current professional learnings and to be present in lived history. In it, I found quiet peace in a place once bloodied by battle. It was a place I loved, and in my afternoons, I would find a table by myself or with a friend to read, write, and organize my mind before returning to Quantico at day’s end, prepared and restored for further education in my chosen profession.
My world is different now. My battles are done. My history of violence is written, and my open space are fields of different blood: family. Where I once sat alone, or shared my table with friends preparing too for war, today, my son is my company. The fights of interest to our minds are neither history nor present, but belong to distant imagined galaxies and their representation in plastic form—Star Wars Legos.
I wondered then what my life would become. Today, I live it. I am blessed, and as I sit writing, reflecting, and contemplating losing myself back into a book, I am grateful. I am grateful for my past, hold gratitude for the present, and hope for possibilities that remain to a future unlived.
The sun is shining. The wind blows, and in two days time—in spite of yesterday’s rain—the world will be ready to work again. The world doesn’t stop, and as much as it seems to change, there is continuity to its cycles.
Today, I take a moment. I write a living present to save away for another day if ever I find it again. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t, but it will be there all the same. That is how history is recorded, lost, and rediscovered.
We have to write it down.