a Veteran’s Day short story

A man returned home to Ashley County after his service to our country. 

His hands, once calloused from farm work, were now marked by a different kind of labor.

He carried the weight of a soldier. It left small reminders, indelible marks.

In the mornings he would stand with the fields stretched out before him, admiring the amber waves in the early light. The air was crisp and welcoming.

The man was amidst the familiar landscape but felt a stranger. This lines on his face were apparent, ones from service to country, not to land like his mother had wanted. 

The man hummed in his mind: This land is my land, this land is your land.

From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.

In the house, the man’s walls held memories of simpler time. The day to day solitude was both a comfort and a burden.

The man spent his days tending to the fields and listening to the wind. Nature had a way of offering solace.

He found a companion in a new but old dog, one that reminded him of a beloved friend from long ago.

This land was made for you and me.

In the evenings, the man sat on the porch, looking at the stars that were somehow closer in the Arkansas sky. The constellations were old friends. He knew that, like him, they had witnessed the passage of time.

The man didn’t have the words to describe the things he had seen, the weight he had carried and will carry.

The good people of his hometown didn’t press. They understood the language of silence.

The days turned to weeks; the man found rhythm and place. 

It wasn’t the same as it had been, and he knew he wasn’t the same either.

The fields, the house, the dog, the stars. There’s a gentle healing with the cadence of country life. 

Little by little, the man would find his way back to himself.

I roamed and rambled, and I’ve followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts

All around me, a voice was sounding

This land was made for you and me.