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This is Remembrance Day.

Sometimes called Armistice, this day commemorates the War Dead.

Through my progression of life, it has meant different things. As a child, it was simply a holiday from school; perhaps a day imbued with ritual dour parades and gatherings in the auditorium – something we all fidgeted and complained through, waiting impatiently for that half-day of freedom that followed.

Later in my adult life, it was a creative photo-op, a chance to watch human expression, a chance to take in the curious and fantastic actors in the Human Movie.

Now I watch it with different eyes. Now, that means – in a literal sense – that my body cells have been largely replaced over the past year, and indeed, these eyes are different eyes. But this also means that my perceptions, values, realities, neuronal network, has all transformed, evolved, shifted. I see and feel, not only the pulse, the longing, the full and empty cups inside of me, but the same in all the humans around me.

We gather in a sea of umbrellas on a wet, unforgiving November day.

The music is marching music, bagpipes and snares, church hymns, solemn, redemption-laced female vocal pieces. The crowd has assembled, once again, another year, another war, more are dead. Only the living are present. The dead are only accounted for in words. No dead bodies – that would be too hard, and perhaps too real for our fragile, protected psyches.

And the families that have lost sons and daughters in the nameless, pointless wars of insane political game-playing that continue to rage? Would they come to re-open their wounds, to re-initiate the numbing pain that greets them every day of their lives?

The crowd gathers, and every year it’s the same. “Remembrance”.   What are we remembering?  “Our” war dead? Meaning, somehow, “our war dead” are significant?  Even though we don’t know their names, their faces?   Even though we have the privelege of retaining a comfortable “statistical” relationship with them, that ends when we turn our coffee-cups away from this rainy park?

“Our war dead” are significant, but “their war dead” are forgotten, because “they” are the enemy, and we are all friends? We who hate our neighbors and who would shoot the other drivers on the road? We are gathered to celebrate … freedom? Peace? Wisdom? Understanding?

The uniforms of the Marching Militia are ironed, wrinkle-free. The drum-beats of this “armistice” day, this day of so-called peace, are so similar to the drum-beats of war – it’s uncanny. A trivial flick of the hair, a turning of the wind, a look of despise in the eyes – it can change so fast.

Everyone is here for their own purpose. The ambulance and fire-truck and sound-men: doing their job. Kids minding dogs. People saying “hi” to neighbors and chit-chatting about the weather. The marching bands pay attention to their kicks and heels, to their drums and pipes. In the required 2 minutes of silence, we all float off to a Perfect World, where there is no war and angels with wings serve dinner to starving masses. This world never arrives, but we never question the ritual. We’re so used to Naked Emporers, that we simply acquiesce residence in the Naked Kingdom.

This “peace” that is promised through cessation of war never comes. This peace that humans negotiate, and philosophize, and long for, is conveniently kept in the confines of fantasy. Its relationship to us is more than “arm’s length” – it is “mind’s length” – it exists only in the nebulous and ego-infested machineries of the human intellect. It rarely makes it to paper, set aside planet. But we watch TV because TV is god to us, and we vote for “change” because we know it will never come.

We are here, and locked into this moment called “now” is the most incredible gift that humans could ever comprehend. Beyond the chaotic and fickle promises of intellect and logic. Beyond the complacent medication of memory and fantasy. Beneath the umbrellas on this rainy Tuesday, all humans long for this. This inner beauty, this place of true silence, this place full of the unique and beautiful substance of us.

This is true music; this is the hymn that never sounds stale and churchy. This is the marching of the most incredible drum, a drum whose beat is our very heart, our very soul, our very unspoken and unspeakable signature.

This is the true Remembrance. This is the Remembrance I want, not as a “memory”, but as a reality. This is the Remembrance I want, not only for myself, for for all of humanity. This is the only Remembrance that will bring true peace, because this is the Remembrance of who we truly are.

This Remembrance follows me as I walk quietly away from this Rainy Park, as I leave the crowds and cookies behind me. This remembrance follows me into my silent places, into my lonely places, into my sleepy hollows and into my day of business and commerce. This remembrance is my friend, my companion, my vessel, my destination.

My Safe Harbor.

My peace in the midst of the battlefield.

The war is over and eveyone has won.