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Measuring My Days

May 2008
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April’s showers transformed our valley into a magical place once more, bringing with it the warmth to resurrect all that is perennially beautiful.  Now May is front and center again with the forest around me coming into full leaf and animation.    Transients at my bird feeder are fewer while many who stopped to refuel have moved north to summer. Some remain nearby to rear another brood. With their energetic, never-stop activity, the sermon they preach is that life goes on.

      Each May my thoughts gravitate to Memorial Day and recognition of the debt owed to so many for the blessings that are ours.  This year in a memorial for her mother and my dear friend, Eva Marie DeCourcey chose an eloquent and fitting eulogy written by Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn to honor the men who died in the battle at Iwo Jima:  

       We Remember Them

In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.  In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them. In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them. In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of the summer, we remember them. In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them. In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them. When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them. When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them. When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.  So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.”  It was a reminder for me that we owe immense debts of remembrance to all who have crossed our path, sacrificed, cared, shared, given of their love, time, wisdom, resources, and life to make ours richer and better.  My travels have found me in cemeteries on Memorial Day and All Souls Day at such places as Pearl Harbor, Luxembourg, Manila, Buenos Aires, Guam Kanchanaburi, and Arlington amidst rows of graves strewn with flowers and national flags.  Blessed be these memories and remnants of an earlier time in America where people still remember and honor their dead!

 

In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Col. John McCrae

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.