Autumn Sunday


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"The Routine"

This blog update is a special entry, for our Tante Randi, who has given me an "F" on my posts.
Honestly, I just didn't know what to write about for a while (okay, and I just dropped the ball), but here it goes again...

After awhile, wherever you live becomes what you know, and what you know becomes, well, ordinary. Even if that ordinary means that large cargo planes blast off and make flight patterns over your own roof several times a day (and night). After less than nine months of being in the military, living on an Air Force Base has become, mostly, normal for me, but every now and again, I remember that I am just still a bit of an alien in "this military life of mine". I had one of those moments last night.

You see, last night I decided that I must start training for a run that I am going to be doing with some friends in October. After being sick for several weeks, I was finally feeling well enough to get out and run some laps again. After laying the kids down for bed, I made my way over to the track. When I arrived, I grew excited for my evening run. Runs in the fall are always fun for me. The air is crisp and cool and begins to fill with that crisp, wet smell of changing seasons. (I am not actually sure what the smell is... wet leaves rotting and decomposing on the ground??) Also, fall always ushers in the football season. And football, to any red blooded American, signals a new year, safety, and good times. So it was comforting for me to see an Air Force tag football team stirring up dust on the soccer field. As I ran around and around the track, I really felt good in my new life. Everything seemed all well and normal-- the way fall should be. And then the eight o'clock "Taps" song started bellowing from the command post tower, and I noticed that people started to stop and stand straight facing the flag. I kept running. After noticing the hostile looks of people I passed, I realized that I was supposed to stop, stand straight, and look at the flag too. I blew it.

I mean, I have been doing this for nine months. I probably should have realized by now that it is proper and courteous to stand during the evening recitation of Taps. I mean, people have died for my freedom. The song is a reminder of their heroic efforts, and I kind-of, well, missed it. I suppose that the song is an ever present reminder to me that life here is anything but normal. Men and women deploy daily and weekly to wage wars in Irag, Afghanistan and perform other duties to ensure our countries' safety. But I am often surprised by the monotony of the basic routine, day in and day out. The same anthem plays everyday at 4:30. The planes repeat the same basic flight patterns. The same military balls are held each and every season. Even deployment becomes routine. The place is just so, institutional. Therefore it is an interesting concept to me that military men and women are masters of routine and yet they are capable of responding to chaos frequently. Their routines and procedures become disrupted every now and again, but they always pick up where they left off. They play flag football every fall and stand for nightly TAPS at 8:00 pm every evening.

This is my life. It is routine. I am growing accustomed to the inns and outs of it. But every now and then, for a second or two, I forget to stop. I forget my ID and cannot get to my home. I forget that we are actively at war. And then I remember that men and women have died for my freedom. And I stop running, turn towards my flag, and I stand a little taller.

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