Photo (c) Rachel Malia Newkirk.

Memorial Day 2011

To say "happy Memorial day" is a bit of an oxymoron. On memorial day we are honoring the men and women who have given our country the ultimate sacrifice. They have given their futures, their dreams, their goals, their hopes. They have given their lives. They have given their everything. They gave them to protect our futures, our dreams, our goals, our hopes. They died to protect our lives. They died to protect our everything.

That is not, and will never be, happy. They will never get to enjoy life again. And that is not a cause for celebration.

Imagine being them.

Imagine the moment you realise you are dying. Think about your dreams, think about people you care most about. You will never see them again. You will never achieve those dreams.

Think about the world around you. You will never see the sun set. You will never feel the cold tickle of the first snow. You will never smell the freshly mowed grass. You will never hear the rain hitting the car roof.

Imagine being left behind.

You will never see this person again.

Who were they? Your Mom or Dad? Your Brother or sister? Your baby boy or girl? Your best friend?

Were they your child? Someone you raised, played with, comforted, protected. You wonder why couldn't you protect them then? Children are not supposed to die before their parents do. That's even embraced in the English language. There is no word for a parent who's child has died.

Were they your spouse? You thought you would grow old together. You were supposed to grow old together. You shared the happiest moments of your lives. You were supposed to continue sharing your life.

Were they your brother or sister? How could this strong, sometimes annoying person really be gone? You instantly regret anything mean you ever did to them. You grew up with this person. And now they're gone. Just. Like. That.

Were they your best friend? Uncle? Aunt? Cousin? Battle-buddy? Neighbor? The list goes on.

You can't watch their favorite movie anymore, you can't hear their favorite song, you can't meet someone with the same name as them without remembering what happened. With out being on the verge of tears.

And who did they die for?

They died for you. They died for the little children in school just learning our anthem. They died for the men and women standing on street corners cursing the soldiers calling them baby-killers. They died for the person who mistakenly left the stove on when they went shopping.

They died to keep us - you and I - free, safe, and relatively happy. They died because they know right now we cannot solve our problems in peace. They died so that one day we can have peace, and no one else will have to die.

We must join in remembering them. Honoring them. Our fallen military personnel, police officers, firefighters.

And their families. We must remember their families.

And we must strive towards a better tomorrow. A better future. A place and time when no one has to die for us. We must do this so that their lives and deaths are not in vain. To show they made a difference in our hearts, and in our homes.

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” - Joseph Campbell

"If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace." - Hamilton Fish

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. - John Lennon

Bittersweet Books & Dancing on Rainbows

My younger brother says that melancholy is "Being happy about feeling sad."
Very philosophical for a nine year old. I think.

The best stories are like that. Melancholy. Bittersweet. Stories where you don't know how to feel. Stories you get lost in. Stories that leave you trying to digest the aftermath. The shock. Stories where the ending is... Not quite happy...But not sad either.

Have you ever wondered what taking drugs is like? At first I imagine it's amazing. Stunning and beautiful. Dancing on a rainbow, high above the world. Above the storm.

But eventually you come back down. The storm feels worse now then it did before, and desperately you want to dance again. So you dope up again. It's not quite the same though. Now you're sitting on clouds. You can still feel the cold bite of rain a little. But it still is breathtaking.

And you come back down. So you try again. And again. But eventually you can only slow the storm. Turn it into a drizzle.

But you keep trying. Not because you want to anymore. Because you need to. Because the earth is flooding, and you need so badly to be above water. To stop drowning. To breath.

I'm sure, anyone reading this is wondering my connection between drugs and bittersweet stories. To be frank, there is none. These are just things I was thinking about today. And needed to write it down. Sometimes, when you write down what scares you, what little thoughts creep around in the dusty corners of your mind, whispering harshly, scaring you, giving you nightmares, sometimes when you write them down they become less terrifying. Less likely to hurt you.


Sometimes I think I'm always surrounded and connected. By my friends, and family, and pets. By computers, and iPods, and cellphones. But other times I wonder...

Am I really connected, or am I more alone?

What would it be like with out all that? Maybe high on a mountain, over looking the sound, or a forest. I always feel more in touch when I get a few minutes here and there alone. More connected to myself and my world. My thoughts. My feelings.

What would it be like to be alone. Just me, by myself. Not always, but sometimes. I'm always connected, always interacting with others. I wonder what it would be like to stop. To go somewhere far away from the city, with a note book, and myself. Somewhere far from others.

You know, it's funny how lonely you can be in a crowd. I always feel alone in a crowd, or at a dance. That's why I hate them. I feel disconnected to my world. I can't think clearly, and it scares me. I see everyone else, with all their friends, hanging out and having fun.

The other night we were driving through the city to get home. I felt so lonely, and scared, and alone. Utterly alone. But I was surrounded by people and things. But when I was up in the mountains, and the only human in earshot or sight, I felt wonderful. Happy, and fresh, and connected to myself.

What if, being alone isn't being unsurrounded by others. What if it's being unsurrounded by yourself.


I'm am against murder.

All of it.

The annoying fly buzzing around your head.
That innocent baby those teenagers conceived.
That convicted murderer on death row.
That chicken from a factory farm.

When I say murder, I mean all murder.

Murder is murder. No matter who to.


Why do we exist? What's the point? Or the reason? Is there one?

Do we even exist? What if we are all a dream within a dream? What if we aren't really here? What if we're all the fragments of someones imagination? Where does that put us?

Let's say, somewhere in some other plane a girl sat with a notebook. She opened the book and created a world. In her mind and those pages alone. What if we're all part of that world?

What if you were given the opportunity to choose the red or blue pill like in The Matrix?

Do you take the blue pill and forget what this all? You continue living your life in perfect bliss, but never knowing.

Or the red pill. Do you risk everything and take the red pill to find out the truth? Leaving behind your life, for knowledge.

I don't know...