Richard D. Preston
DARE TO DREAM…
Part 1: Dare To Dream?
Humping in the toolies while my mind drifts into reverse, thinkin’ ‘bout the past couple of star lit nights. This jungle is treacherously beautiful at times – moon dancin’ through the canopy as the stars peek through the thick leaves; takes ya back to a more peaceful time and place. Problem is, drifting off in this state of mind can get a person killed. Tryin’ to keep focused is a real pisser out here in the big green. Subconsciously scanning the tree tops while wiping sweat from your eyes can take the romanticism right out of ya. The razor grass has its own way of sucking the strength outta ya. Least it lets ya know your still alive cause you bleed from little strips – gotta be thankful for the little things eh. Skeeters buzzing, inhaling dust, this pack feels like a hundred pounds of canvas on my back. My M14 slung barrel down over my shoulder hangs horizontally resting in my hands ready for action, while this piss pot on my head cooks my brain from the inside out. Friggin’ romantic all right, a real love story going on here!
What would we have if we couldn’t dream? Complain about the damp cool jungle at night and then moan about the heat of the sun during the day. No happy medium, all we got is the dreams of yesterday and the hope of tomorrow. Right now drags on endlessly and it doesn’t matter. This second does ‘because I’m still breathing and walking the bush. Two seconds from now ain’t guaranteed and we know this to be true, ‘cause we have seen how quick eternity began for some of us. Wonder what they were dreamin’ ‘bout when time stopped for em’.
Gotta live somehow and we gotta survive even if it’s in a semi focused state of mind. Thinkin’ bout that centerfold in Playboy beats the hell outta dwelling on the ambush last night, or lifting them body bags into the chopper this mornin’. Had friends last night and today they are gone. Like I said this jungle is treacherously beautiful at night. The stars ain’t all that light up the sky. But that’s life in the boonies. If ya don’t book a trip once in awhile in the shadows of your mind you’ll lose control big time. Everybody here’s got the thousand-yard today, stepping light and living right somewhere stateside, tryin’ to forget; going through the motions while tryin’ to bury the emotions of war. Last night I was livin’ in hotel hole while staring up at that orange Vietnam moon when stars turned into tracer rounds ripping our position to shreds. Charley was busy with war while we were booking flights to Disneyland. Paid the price to One-Way-Ville with tickets soaked in blood and steel rattling in the Platoon sergeants hand. Note to self, I gotta book shorter trips.
Question was “What would we have if we couldn’t dream?” …perhaps the lives of those who bought it last night under the darkness of the canopy. Death does not enhance itself in the golden glow of Vietnam Moonlight. Today I hump the toolies and I’ll try to forget. But tonight! Tonight I won’t be buyin’ any dream tickets to the World. Tonight I will be tryin’ to punch a few Cong tickets of my own… destination, Deceased-Ville North Vietnam.
Live and learn; learn and live…
©Copyright June 13, 2003 by Richard D. Preston