The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

VERWANDLUNGEN |

May 12, 2011

Name: Captain Dave
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Milblog: Playing in the Sandbox...Again

I have tried to write here countless times in the last few weeks, each time making my way through only a few sentences before deciding to stop. Maybe words aren't enough. Or maybe I just can't find the right ones. Either way, I feel stuck on a page on which I have so much to say but no way to say it. 

I haven't been sleeping well for months, probably since I came back from leave. Something about that quick taste of normalcy and comfort refuses to be suppressed. This must be good, I think. Even when I can sleep, I find myself dreaming slightly modified scenarios of what I usually experience throughout a regular day -- walking around on the base, doing work in my office, eating repetitive meals, occasionally going on a patrol, maybe drinking coffee, or some combination of these. Consequently, I often feel as if I haven't slept at all, since my dream reality and real reality are nearly identifical (maybe in the dream world I get two cups of coffee!). 

It's almost over. My life is about to enter a period of wonderful transition, and yet I can't help but wonder what it's all been worth. At the end, I will have spent almost a full year of my life in this place, and I struggle with the meaning and purpose of it all. When I joined the Army, this is what I wanted. I wanted to come to Afghanistan and experience conflict. I thought it was the right thing to do, the right place to be. But after so many months staring it in the face, I'm struck with the sobering thought that I never found what I was looking for.

For almost a year I have been stuck in time, perhaps relativistically, moving only slowly as the rest of the world continues at a frantic pace forward. I am Gregor Samsa, minus the whole cockroach bit. Everything else transforms and changes its seasons as I walk the same path of rocks and dirt and gaze at the same distant dark mountains. For others, babies have been conceived and born, relationships ended and begun, troubles encountered and forgotten, obstacles overcome, demons exorcised, families reconciled, countries changed, homes lost, redemption found, acceptance, rejection, and life in general doing what it typically does for those who live it.

A year is a long time to wait for life to start again. But start again it will.

Comments

Capt. Dave: wow, let me think a minute...please don't feel alone out there...I could get all blithe, or preachy, or sentimental...I want to be as honest as you have just been...You have done your duty, with honor. I, a terminally ill woman somewhere in the Pacific NW, can sleep safe and go off to my chemo treatment, covered by Medicare, because you stepped up and were willing to put your whole self at risk, every minute, for a tour in the most historically tedious military site on the planet. Thank you.

Another thing, life all over is just going crazy; there is not one reason, the tides of history and culture and human nature are pushing and pulling at an every increasing pace...beware of these things as you travel home.

You are in my heart.

Aurora

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