Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ground Hog Day Redux

A bald eagle photographed at Guana Preserve in North Florida

In Bill Murray's "Ground Hog Day," a television weather forecaster wakes up every morning in the same room, to the same radio show and relives the day before's events in the same way, over and over. No matter how hard he tries, he finds it impossible to escape the routine.

That's how we had been living while Mark was deployed to Iraq. Everyday: Get up, fret about the war, go to work, worry about the war, come home, eat dinner, watch the news and fret some more. I thought that cycle would snap instantly after he came back to the States. But it hasn't. After three months since his arrival, we are still living a modified version of the same routine. Ground Hog Day redux.

Yesterday, we decided to try to break the cycle and head to a 9,000 acre marine and coastal hammock preserve called the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas Natural Estuarine Research Reserve 15 minutes from our house. We had heard that the two eagles were back and had hatched at least one chick in a nest near the education center. It was a balmy day so we abandoned the Internet and the television news for a healthy sun-screened dose of vitamin D. One of the eagles was there but it was too hazy to try for photograph. I went back today and didn't see either bird. The picture above was taken in 2006 before Mark deployed.

We don't know what normal is anymore. Part of it is the war. We have forgotten what we used to do when we were blissful ninety-nine percenters. Part of it is that we are nearing the empty-nester stage. Our youngest will be 17 and he was outgrowing his parents about the time Mark joined the Army. For 26 years, our kids have been the focus of our lives. So we are now entering a new phase. Should be a new adventure.

But the war will always be with us.

1 comment:

Infantry Dad said...

We've done the empty nest thing four times now.
One or another of them always seems to come back.
We're looking for a one bedroom house.

I can't imagine ever being over this deployment.
The stress and worry.
Maybe when they are out of the Army for good we'll be able to rest a lit bit easier.