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Doug Wrenn

A Bright Flag In A Dark Fog
By Doug Wrenn
Nov 23, 2013 - 12:10:28 AM

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Something unsettled stirred within me, deep in my head, an itch too deep to reach. So I opted for a leg stretch, on the cool sands of this foggy eve at the local beach.

As I gently strolled ahead on this relaxing journey, I felt the usual beloved yearning. The smells of shellfish, seaweed and salt filled the lightly dense air. Barely a breeze caressed my skin or unfurled my hair. The melodic waves gently rolled in as I walked by. Inside all was now soothing, like a tired child's last fleeting wisp of consciousness before blissfully succumbing to that sedating lullaby.

I approached a curve and rounded the bend, seeing my breath now in the water-filled air, grazing past my chin. I also saw a focused beam, on something afar, it's identity still dim. Atop some rocks off shore was a scene of an illuminated Old Glory, barely moving at half mast, as if patiently waiting to tell someone her story.

Struck as I was with now an affixed gaze, my feet ceased movement, as if now frozen. I listened to the stillness, as if time had not only stopped, but was also now pointedly broken.

She was solemn yet serene, bold and proud. Glistening on this foggy mount, basking in the spotlight abundantly so bright, her vibrant colors were all that sang aloud, like a chorus against the night.

Sadly I pondered to whom she had offered this sad honor and acclaim. A soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, and what was the name.

I reflected upon the joys and sorrows of life and living. All so miniscule now, to that family next week mourning an empty chair at their table when they convene for Thanksgiving.

I then looked around and realized like the flag, I was all alone. I gazed at it some more as it gently waved to me in the sea mist, shackling me with a gentle whisper, while bellowing with an agonizing groan.

For at this bluff in the middle of the bend sat she. No longer alone, but now conversing with me. I still wondered what face and name could be attached to this lonely honor. The scene was bucolic, but the message no calmer.

For this flag and who she represents seems unnoticed if not abandoned. But somebody mounted her there, and set up that light, somebody tangible, human and very real, and certainly not a heartless phantom.

She flapped and she waved as if to keep my attention, and ask if someone.....anyone else did possibly see. I looked around yet again, feeling helpless, it was still just Old Glory, the foggy darkness, the bright light, and me.

I could imagine her asking, if anyone knew, or someone even peeked, if only for a glance. Or were they drawn to her as I now was, searching about now a third time, but still, no chance.

In modern life so often we look but do not see. We pass by, don't get involved, and sometimes, even flee.

She waved still but gazed back at me now, my sadness spreading like a cancer. She still danced in the spotlight at the backdrop of the waves, desperately gleaning for an answer.

The question was the same, besides the face and the name, but who else noticed, if even out of a corner of their eyelid.

Rest easy now, old girl, and for whom in your bright light you so honorably fly. Your job is done, so wave gallantly, and do not cry.

For tonight by one you were noticed, and respected, too. Not passed by or peeked at, not even glanced over. But in your radiance someone stopped, saw you and received, understood and even embraced your lonely but esteemed message this foggy eve, ever so sober. It was someone frozen in step, awestruck in your beauty, with full reverence, and not even from a corner of an eyelid.

I am here, still in front of you now. It was me. And yes, I did.

Doug Wrenn


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