Boots and Book Burning
Forwarded by a friend from someone else and well worth reading.
So this weekend I had a somewhat unpleasant task of going through a number of old boxes containing books I had collected over the years and through my travels. We had a small flood in our basement last year, and I failed to notice that many of my boxes got wet and had sprung mold cultures. Most of the books were beyond recovery so I decided a bonfire was in order to send them to Valhalla to allow my fellow warriors to read and enjoy them. Not enough pornography though, so I hope they are not disappointed.
Of course, there was some porn, which I went to great lengths to preserve. If it's between porn and Shakespeare, porn wins every time. As long as it's tastefully done, of course. I'm no pervert, just a book burner. So I dragged about five good size boxes out to my burn pit, which has been unofficially sanctioned by the Washington County Trash Burners Society, after I christened it last week with a fluorocarbon nightmare by cooking off two couches and a lounge chair.
The black smoke could be seen for the required mile and a half, as recorded by unofficial trash burning official on Willard Mountain. I always burn while chewing tobacco to ensure that I
am unaffected by any toxins. So, if you have concerns for my health put them to rest. In this load I also added half an old pool table, just to get it cooking good! The first four boxes and the pool table went up without issue.
It wasn't until the last box that my destructive urges came somewhat into question. I had decided to destroy all, without discrimination, until I happened upon my old jungle boots from Ranger School. They are the old Vietnam era green jungles, outlawed by Shalikashivilli I think, with the metal plate and cloth tops. They were covered in mold as everything else, but, and I mean this seriously, they looked happy.
They spoke to me from beneath the halo of white fuzz and basically said, "What the f **k's up Ranger? Where you been?" No way I was going to burn them. The rest of the box went to the pile of flame, but not these. I sat down in the snow and
just looked at them, turning them over in my hands, recognizing barbed wire scars and grooves worn into the leather from the Florida swamps. I found the big nick in the rubber sole achieved while sliding down a rock on my back in Dahlonega while assaulting a guerilla camp.
They had hunger in them, frustration at a recycle and having to sit it out in the Gulag, humor from listening to my Ranger buddy asking an RI to spell "specifically" from the interior of a pitch dark patrol base, and the RI going crazy trying to figure out who asked the question, and then triumph at finally graduating.
Those boots were witness to probably hundreds of bullshit stories, and even some true ones, told while sitting in OP's all over the globe.
It's funny that while looking at those boots I was inspired at times to reach levels of exaggeration and outlandishness that I never otherwise could have achieved. My feet never seemed to get cold in those boots. Maybe they actually are living organisms. Old buddies on the shelf. Most striking to me, after
contemplating them for awhile, was their aura of motion.
The potential energy in those boots is amazing. They move in your hands of their own accord. They have no hesitation. They just say "Go mother f**ker". Regardless of circumstance or pain, they say "Keep moving." In these boots you will get were you are supposed to go. May not be exactly as you planned
it, but you will get there. Even after the military they are still
My Grand Dad, who dropped out in eighth grade and raised the rest of his family, used to say "When you are walking against the rain, in a strong wind, put your head down keep walking. It won't keep raining and blowing for ever."
Now I know something else, first learned in Benning: When walking in that storm, you must walk with your head up so you can maintain security and see alternate courses of action that might be better than that trail you are slogging along on. The ability to say f' it, I ain't doing this shit no more and redirecting your efforts towards something that works is priceless.
Boots damnit! Keep moving! The boots are now in
the shed, freezing the mold on them to death, hopefully. I heard them laughing as I closed the door on them: "Motherf**ker, you going to leave us out here? Ain't that some shit! See you in the spring!"
It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it
De Oppresso Liber