"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Song of the Open Road & My Best Friend


I am facing by far the biggest battle of my entire life. I risk all that I have worked for these fifteen years. I risk my life, my liberty, and my financial well being. My wonderful wife agrees with my stance and supports me in this important battle. I knew there was a reason I had exceedingly high standards for a companion, and those standards led me to believe I would spend my life alone. When I met her, I was amazed that I had found a person who not only measured up, but exceeded those standards. It has proven a real source of humility these past eight years. I didn't expect that.

We made our own wedding bands, having engraved within them symbols of our independent values. Two different rings with one symbol in common. Her wedding band shows two companions on horseback on a winding road, a tribute to the poem from Walt Whitman that she had read aloud at our wedding, Song of the Open Road.

Some of those words are reassuring to me now:

Allons! whoever you are, come travel with me! 115
Traveling with me, you find what never tires.

The earth never tires;
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first—Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things, well envelop’d;
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell. 120

Allons! we must not stop here!
However sweet these laid-up stores—however convenient this dwelling, we cannot remain here;
However shelter’d this port, and however calm these waters, we must not anchor here;
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us, we are permitted to receive it but a little while.

10

Allons! the inducements shall be greater;
125
We will sail pathless and wild seas;
We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements!
Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;
Allons! from all formules! 130
From your formules, O bat-eyed and materialistic priests!

The stale cadaver blocks up the passage—the burial waits no longer.

Allons! yet take warning!
He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance;
None may come to the trial, till he or she bring courage and health. 135

Come not here if you have already spent the best of yourself;
Only those may come, who come in sweet and determin’d bodies;
No diseas’d person—no rum-drinker or venereal taint is permitted here.

I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes;
We convince by our presence. 140

11

Listen! I will be honest with you;
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes;
These are the days that must happen to you:

You shall not heap up what is call’d riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve, 145
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin’d—you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction, before you are call’d by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you;
What beckonings of love you receive, you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you.

1 comment:

  1. Serendipity led me to your site, and this prticular entry is stunningly beautiful. Thank you for your service to your wife, family, the world and particularly our great USA.

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