. Happy Memorial Day
Just outside Sedona, Lisa and I are hiking the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail which winds through extraordinary rock formations on a smooth dirt path lined with yucca, sotol (which is a cousin of Tequila) and manzanita.
On our route, we see people in shorts and sneakers climbing all over the well-known Bell Rock, like ants on an anthill. Bell Rock is identified as a vortex, a center of spiritual energy, whatever that means.
Three miles in on our trek, a hiker passes us, smiles and says, “Happy Memorial Day.” This catches me. Happy Memorial Day… Is this right? Seems kind of a funny thing to say for the day we honor the members of the armed forces, the dead ones.
Okay, I’ll have a happy Memorial Day because it’s vacation time. But this day is also, and primarily, in memory of those who didn’t make it through. When you think of it, it reflects a duality of our nature. We make a big deal of not fighting, but we constantly make enough of a big deal of things that we begin to fight. Then we commemorate the death of our fellows who were killed in the name of peace, by having a picnic, or taking a hike.
My brother is a veteran. He served in Viet Nam in the 1970s where he sustained a million dollar wound. That’s an injury that doesn’t kill you, but is serious enough to get you removed from battle and in his case, to spend six weeks recuperating in a Japanese hospital and then come home without permanent damage.
Lisa and I hike on, among the mountains and oak and juniper, the dusty footpaths, the dry washes and red and orange sandstone, the basalt, the towering vertical rock walls, thinking that we are two of the luckiest people we know.
When we return back to the parking lot, someone had set up a little shop in the hatch of his vehicle. It is 10:15 in the morning, there is a cloudless sky and temperatures are in the high 80s. He’s making a profit selling hats.