Do you ever have those times when you get so busy you almost forget to breathe?
In a country like Australia, you get used to covering a lot of ground to get from A to B and to C. Since arriving in Sydney from Bangkok a week ago, I’ve spent most of my time in a car. My husband and I are in a ‘transition phase’: living out of suitcases and trying to tie up a lot of loose ends in different places, in what never feels like enough time. I get quite breathless.
Having both hands gripped on the wheel has meant I haven’t spent time taking pictures, let alone sorting and processing them. But, as I’ve driven along winding coastal highways, clinging to cliffs above the ocean; over twisting mountain roads in rain and hail; and across dirt tracks and tarmacs in the middle of rolling farming lands, I’ve had the company of my thoughts – and some good ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio.
The radio reminded me that: not only is it Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day) in Commonwealth and other Allied countries to commemorate the official end of World War I – “the war to end all wars”; but at 11:11 in the morning, we have the only date with a 12-digit palindrome comprised of a single digit: 11:11:11 on 11/11/11. Numerologist call it a “high vibrational day”, which is meant to be a good thing.
In any event, it is a good reason to stop – and breathe – and reflect on those who have fallen on foreign shores.
In Flander’s Field
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
In Flanders fields.
– Captain John D. McCrae, 3 May 1915, Flanders
Perhaps if we reflect, we can change things.
(My thanks to William W Wood’s grandchildren.)