Yesterday, I had itchy feet. Some days I wake up with this tenacious urge to move, but I usually pack it down and get on with my life. Yesterday, I couldn’t. I started driving at 10AM, and didn’t get home until midnight. I logged close to 350 miles of driving, driving until I reached the unfamiliar, and then going in a new direction. As Bradbury said, “Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.”
I ended up at Stones River Battlefield because I followed the signs from the interstate, which I guess is how people did things before smartphones. If you know nothing about me, know this: I have a deep, enduring love for history. Especially the ugly parts of it. So, when I entered the Civil War battlefield, for me it was like stepping into the scene. I strolled along a wooden fence and read letters and journal entries from soldiers from both sides of the battle, and felt sadness and sympathy for both, because in the end, war is a dirty, terrible thing for all those involved, and I believe in finding peace through understanding.
It is important for us to study history, because it teaches us lessons about our past. If we are cognizant of our past mistakes, history won’t be doomed to repeat itself in the future. After all, Einstein said that the definition of insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” At some point the insanity must end.
The world has changed since blood stained downy tufts of cotton on the battlefield and lives were laid to waste along these river banks. Now, fields of wheat and wildflowers have grown over these hallowed grounds, and young cotton, pure and white, has risen up from the remains of those who have passed.
As the vermilion sun sank behind the mountains, a gust of wind swept over the fields, and found me under the maple tree. Carried on the crisp autumn breeze was a voice that said, “All will be renewed.”
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
– Revelation 21:4