L'Abri Journals...ACGray

September 2002
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Summer Passes...

What one really needs is friendship, and the affirmation that life is full and good.  Moments, fleeting moments, when love has penetrated us bone-deep.   David Loxterkamp, M. D., A Measure of My Days, The Journal of a Country Doctor


Chalet LAbri @ Massanutten

September 1, 2002


          Absorbing my thoughts is a memorable visit I made with Jim Williams last week to the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Virginia.  Bedford was chosen as the most appropriate site for the Memorial because 19 of the small towns young men were killed on June 6, 1944 at Omaha beach in the Normandy invasion.  Thus it made the greatest sacrifice with the greatest loss per-capita of any other community in America.  My visit prompts me to read everything I can find about that fateful day.  Some 77,000 American troops participated in the D-Day invasion;  2,400 Americans were killed that day.  One eyewitness wrote in his journal: the sea runs red with American blood.   Together with troops in much smaller numbers from other nations, the Allied Forces who participated gave humanity the most important story of the twentieth century.  In terms of its broad and residual impact on the course of world events wrote one historian, the D-Day invasion rivals the French Revolution as a watershed of modern history.  If not the most difficult day of World War II, it was surely the most important.   The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan are film versions of D-Day.   Hollywood aside, the memorial simulating Omaha Beach on that fateful day with bronze soldiers dead in the water, captures the emotions as nothing else could.  Yet once more I was reminded of the enormous price paid for our countrys blessed freedom and abundance. 

          The days grow short and down to a precious few when we reach September.  It is dark as my feet reluctantly touch the floor these days at six AM.  Though twenty days remain of summer, already these signals of autumn mark the unrelenting march of time:  birch trees drop mottled and golden leaves; the forest back of the chalet is tinged with amber, rust, purple; the night crickets chorus a premature end of summer.  On the early dawn horizon squadrons of migrating starlings mark my departure for the Wellness Center to swim. 

          Monarchs and blackpolls have long since begun their long jaunt to South America.  Consider the birds, I am reminded in Lukes gospel.  They neither sow nor reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?   These are apt words to ponder as many fret about another 911 and the unknowns that confront our future.  William Cullen Bryant gazed long upon a solitary waterfowl disappearing into a glorious evening sunset and blessed us with his poetic hope:

There is a Power whose care

Teaches thy way along the pathless coast

The desert and illimitable air

Lone wandering, but not lost....

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart

Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given....

He who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must tread alone,

 Will lead my steps aright. 

                        (from To a Waterfowl)

Fanny Crosby, blind and in the dark, came to the end of her long journey of ninety 
                                    singing "All the Way My Savior Leads Me. " So I take hope and leave all my
                                    in the hands of the Administrator of the universe and rejoice in the blessings 
of another summer soon passing
                                    into the ages.     

Flying Geese

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10