He salutes me every morning. Him…that old guy…the early morning walker. Like me. Although, I know that I’m not the only one. I imagine he salutes every one he passes whether on the same side of the street, or not. Ex-military, for sure. Crisp camouflage pants, green jacket with emblems on the sleeve, name stenciled over the pocket flap, and a creased camp hat. Even at his age, lived longer than mine, his back is straight, his shoulders squared, and his salute crisp. He cuts the air with grace. Practice and remembering has made the salute I receive…damn perfection.
“Mornin’, Ma’am”. He salutes. He passes.
“Morning, Sir”, I answer. I smile.
He obviously doesn’t see my smile, nor does he know that he’s made the beginning of my day all that much better. I love that salute. His salute makes me a part of his purpose. In my mind I imagine we share this common mission. A determination that we keep moving forward. That we proof each day not only for ourselves but for others. We silently establish the validity of the day. The truth of the day. At least, this is what I think.
Most days it works. Some days not at all.
I can’t mince words. Personally, it’s been tough these past months. I’ve had a difficult time finding reconciliation to life-living on a plane where I steadfastly believed the world was a familiar round with no edges, but then it began to feel that in the ancient context of “the world is flat”, the falling-off edge was close at hand.
There is comfort in emblems on sleeves and names stenciled over pockets. There is strength in squared shoulders and straight backs. There is motivation and courage in putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward in any circumstance. In every circumstance we provide the movement forward. You and I. Each of us. Every one.