Thursday, November 24, 2005

Will You Be There?

Somewhat bizarrely, today's featured article at wikipedia is on Canadian Military History.

The link is "advertised" with this regal WWI recruitment poster:

Will you be there? I wonder. Every now and then, especially with current focus abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, I find myself imagining how life thus far might have turned out if other opportunities weren't quite so available, or the personal constitution were slightly more amenable to such service, or the necessity were more obvious. The cubicle I find myself in now is as random as any other. Who is to say for certain where the paths not taken led? I suppose it is the constant, consummate dilemma for us plagued with a penchant for experience.

It was with a somewhat heavy heart that I first walked the beach of Brighton and gazed across the Channel to France at the age of 21, fresh off an undergraduate year abroad in friendly Glasgow. Brighton in Southern England in May with my mother and her mother. Arriving in that city after taking the overnight train to London that cost 50 quid one-way, because I missed the bus (I had paid for) in saying a too-long farewell to a Swedish girl I adored. The same city where my grandfather - who also bears the name of James Anderson MacDuff - was first stationed in 1943. When he looked into the Channel for an incoming enemy.

Oh, how different our experiences through Europe were. I wonder sometimes how I am going to pay him and his comrades back. Or whether, by living as I do - quixotically - whether I am.


Post a Comment

<< Home