April 13th, 2018

We were at Greg’s place in the woods for R & R. One person in the group read Greg’s books on herbs and native plants. One guy wove sweet grass braids as he prayed. One person fasted alone in a shack. One walker composed songs in the loft of the cabin. Somebody sat and watched the turtles sunbathe on a log in Greg’s pond. I wandered the gravel farm roads. Most of them were flooded out at some point, and I watched the sun sparkle on water that barely covered the drowned corn stalks in the fields.

Most of us didn’t know where we were until we got there. Even after arriving, I wasn’t quite sure where exactly Greg’s land was. The site has a soothing energy. It is a place where healing can occur. The land whispers “welcome” to those who go there.

I thought a lot about my redneck, combat vet son while I was sitting around the tepee. Greg is the commander of a militia. To be precise, he is in charge of the Wetzel Brigade of Rogers’ Rangers. Greg has numerous photos of the brigade on the walls of his cabin. They go shooting and have camps. They study the traditional skills of the hunter and trapper. Most of the members seem to active or retired veterans. I thought to myself that Hans, my son, would feel right at home here. I felt that Hans would easily connect with Greg, and that Hans’ PTSD could be alleviated in these woods.

I talked to Greg about Hans. I told him that Hans had fought in Iraq, and that he had come back damaged in spirit. I described Hans’ current struggles.

Greg gave me a serious look and said, “I would be honored to meet that young man.”

I texted Hans about Greg. I told Hans that he should really get to know Greg.

Hans texted back, “Why?”

I found that question to be totally like my son, and completely exasperating.

I wrote and said, “Because the man is totally cool.”

That didn’t seem to impress Hans too much. So, I explained more about what Greg does and how he lives. That aroused Hans’ interest at least a little bit. I told him that Greg would be honored to meet him.

Hans texted back, “Why does he want to meet me?

I replied, “Because you are a combat vet and a patriot.”

Hans texted back, “I’m just a good old boy.”

I texted him and said, “You are all of those things.”

Greg gave me a copy of the invitation he sent out to the brigade members concerning their next camp that is coming up in a few weeks. I mailed that copy to Hans. I told him that I know he probably can’t make the trip to that event, but he could always come to see Greg some other time.

I don’t know what Hans will do, if anything. It is usually counter-productive when I give him advice. I mostly wanted Hans to know that Greg wants to meet him. I think that means something to my son. It’s kind of a belated recognition of what he has done in his life. That alone may be good for him.

It still feels strange that I wound up at Greg’s place. I thanked Bobby for convincing me to come there with the other walkers. Maybe the only reason I went that far was to tell my son about that cabin in the woods, and about the man who lives in it.







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