peripatetic precipitates: on nature, healing, and homecoming

A column by Craig Chalquist, PhD

A Veteran's Day Reflection

Today is 11/11 once again, and I am thinking about my fathers and about something Kurt Vonnegut once wrote:

When I was a boy...all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one... I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

My adoptive father served in the US Navy during the Korean War. He saw no combat and came home as authoritarian as he left. He will go to his grave defending a rigged economic system whose healthcare costs are robbing him blind.

My birth father saw some of the bloodiest fighting in Korea. He came back psychically mutilated and sick of war. As a result of what war did to him, I scarcely knew him. I am irredeemably saddened by this because I became very fond of what I did know of him. Part of him never came home.

To involve oneself with ecotherapy is to realize at some point how profoundly our dysfunctional relationship with terrestrial resources--oil, for instance--rebounds into preventable human suffering. My Veterans Day prayer, therefore, is that we find ways to genuinely support our bewildered, overburdened, and dying troops by learning about and supporting the development of clean forms of energy and transportation: those that do not involve massive disparities of wealth or require the blood of our best young men and women to exploit.



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