Some say there are moments in life where everything beforehand was just another step on the path to a specific destination, a singular spot in time
where meaning is heavy and life changes in a single breath. Usually reserved for fairy tales or legend are these moments, real in inspiration however
lacking in reality. But when the unusual becomes real, becomes here and now, this leaves no choice but to accept what was once inconceivable. This is
the experience I am about to share with you, a moment in time that have the trappings of destiny, the grandeur of a fairy tale, and the inspiration to
change a life. Nature at its finest tipping its hand for a single moment in time...
Growing up in the outskirts of Albany New York has its advantages, your far enough away from the bustle of city life yet close enough to everything
when in need. With locations such as the Adirondacks a short drive away, finding nature was far from impossible although in my specific case it was
comparably as far from a lifestyle. Sure, as a kid I ventured in to local forever green areas to play or build some rudimentary fort for kicks but
never did I ever really learn to appreciate nature. It was simply just another facet of life far removed from my lifestyle and this in fact remained
the case in to my early adult hood. I'd like to say that I always had some sort of underlying burning desire to embrace nature and explore the beauty
it has to offer yet that would be a lie. Like domestic fish caged in a glass house, I took a gander every once in a while and to that end was the
extent of my interest.
By the time I was 21 I found myself going nowhere fast and with the support of a good childhood friend we both joined the military. Oddly enough I
never once looked back, I made the decision on a dime and remained still in the current of life and just went with the flow. That is until the second
I stepped off the bus where I, along with a dozen other pursuers of change, were introduced to our new life. We all tried to make sense of the moment
as we frantically managed to come to attention on a imaginary line drawn on the hard concrete. Standing before us was a hardened drill instructor who
spoke with harsh and specific authority. His tone was one of loud demand, and every motion he took was equally as firm of conviction. With sunken eyes
that were blackened and a overall look of confidence, dominance, and surreal seriousness, he marched us off to the processing station. Looking back,
it took all of two seconds after the last step off that bus to know I had made a horrible mistake and the void of any ideas for my future that had
plagued me for years suddenly over ran with inspiration, if only I was NOT here..
With a loud and ominous metal “Bang! Bang! Bang!” in rapid succession, this is how we started the day for the next several months, mind you at
4:00AM. And with regards to nature I could not have been further removed. We slept in a concrete 'birthing' with metal cubical storage units and a
steel bed. We marched endlessly day and night on a concrete 'grinder' with only a hint of trees off in the distance and the occasional strip of
manicured grass oddly placed here and there. We were 100 strong with only inches between us yet isolated and alone, void of the ability to feel,
think, or even communicate without occasion. It was a time of great depravity and to this day am still grateful for the experience. You see, it was
the total deprivation of almost everything that made everything to come possible.
Soon after boot camp I was transferred to an 'A School', a specialized school for specific and/or unique job training(s). More specifically, I found
myself in the quaint town of Millington Tennessee. This place was like Gods country to me, the trees were widespread and lavish, the stars were
unbelievably big and bright. It was a place where nature was abundant and everywhere demanding attention, soliciting respect with every eye full. But
what made this experience even more wonderful was that after being deprived of almost everything worldly for months just prior, all my senses were on
high alert and being overwhelmed! The smell of a soft breeze was intoxicating, the sight of a nights sky full and bright with all the wonders of the
universe suddenly had meaning, the ability to take a moment of thought just for me was once again new.
About a week after getting settled I found myself with an entire afternoon free. I had not had more than 5 minutes of such liberties over the past
months so my mind was full with opportunity and direction. Of these ideas I eventually settled on simply taking a walk, it had been far too long since
I did nothing but think on my own accord and to do so while taking in the spectacular views of nature seemed appealing so off I went. It was the first
time in a while I was able to really take a good look at myself and was really amazed at just how far removed I was from where I had left. I was
brimming with confidence and all but ready to take on the world, standing firmly on my own 2 feet. I almost felt whole, complete, and the world had
wonder once more as my new found appreciation for all things filled my senses. And it was at this moment it became clear that the total deprivation of
boot camp had worth.
As I walked along the old narrow road(s) that carved through the thick forest flat lands of Tennessee I could not help but revel in the sound of
fluttering leaves as they gently fell to the ground echoing in the silence. The richness of color and depth redefined what I knew to be possible and
although totally surrounded by this imposing landscape of fortified nature, I felt at peace. Minutes turned in to hours and I just kept going, heading
nowhere I was being drawn along like a ripen dandelion seeding in a falls gentle breeze.
edit on 16-6-2012 by HomeBrew because: (no reason given)