Monday, May 04, 2009

Rain, Flowers and Stones by Stephen Craig Rowe

Rain flowers and stones were April's travels on the road and in the wings.  Before dawn I curl up in a back seat of a van turn up my collar and try to sleep away the ride with prayers and strangers.  Old soldiers not bound for glory these days as the trips are to Veteran's Hospitals.  My first trip in April was a day trip to Danville, Il. for a visit to the palliative care unit at the VA Medical Center.  The unit was clean, well appointed and the staff caring and compitent.  Prior to my appointment I was asked to wait in a day room with other patients.  I was the only person in the day room not in a wheel chair or bed hooked up with IV's and breathing devices.  This was clearly a place for those on their last legs or no legs as the case may be moaning and staring blindly at nothing on the television.  Not my cup of tea as it were thinking about those poor old boys so strong then and so weak and helpless fading away.  I thought about my grandfather, father, Army friends and thought about running away, then my name was called for a brief interview with the Dr.  We talked about my case, what Palliative Care was about the Hospice Program and such.  I want nothing to do with this as I would rather crawl into the woods or take a bottle of gin to a whore house for my end of days than drool about running on empty in some hospital. 
I have things to do I thought as I left the unit.  Paintings to paint, bad poetry to write, maybe books or a novel one day.  Then took a walk on the grounds and looked at the sky.
The second trip was a three day trip to Danville with a day trip to Indianapolis for a super CT Scan to determine the nature of my ills that did not.  A meeting with my surgeon in Indy was good and have a feeling that this Dr. has it all together but that may be another story.  We shall see. 
The third trip to Danville and Indy in April was in the last week for a scope and another biopsie.  Should have the pathology report within a few days.  Oh, this last trip was a three day visit away and it was rainy and cool for the most part but I did get to walk the stones. 
When I am away I do talk to people, but not much.  Tend to let them do the talking and I just listen until I have to kindly walk away and be about my own.  Help when I can and do what I do and do it well.  Pushing old hippie dudes in wheelchairs, talking stuff, looking people in the eyes as they tell me.  When I look them in the eyes they see.
Late in the afternoon I went to the Danville National Cemetery  and walked the stones again. 
Alone in the stones
No life in sight
the White on green
rows grow and fold
upon the other rows of
White Stones.
Each one a Soldier,
Veteran, Hero,
Family history.
Honor for my hand and eyes
to touch the stones
as I
Walk the Stones
alone in silence and
Snap to attention
give a crisp
Salute.
As ever be well,
Stephen Craig Rowe
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