All tagged Bastogne

Refresh and Reflect

On the pike we carry heads of those we cross.  A deep gash cut ruby red turns black with fresh blood; the eyes once full of life become empty and distant, looking upon the fields to unknowable horizons.  They roll back and the croaking starts.  You start to shake for life, but it’s already gone with that final choke in blood.  You watch a young man die and look around to keep from throwing up.  From an opioid haze a few mental blocks from a padded room you remember what it’s like to go to war.  In the Jaques Woods I walked through someone else’s nightmare: perfectly spaced pines overlooking fields of grazing fire dotted with persistent fox holes.  The winter struck early and fierce in the Ardennes, 1944.  American and German soldiers, fleeced and furred, billowed vapor in a stand-off like two locomotives pushing continuously in opposite directions.  Dead bodies stacked rigor mortis and frozen provided cover for future barrages.  Rattling machine gun fire and the high pitch scream of artillery and mortars arrived in scores from both sides with little notice for exact grid location.  Certainly no one wanted to be there.