A Great War: Scorched Earth

The first phase of a great war has begun: Scorched earth.

The jungle has been filled with unfriendly foes. Our allies started the first round. Everything in sight near the base’s borders has been killed.

The round up of the enemies has taken its awful toll on the jungle closest to the base.

No one has returned (yet). It’s a race between the foes and friends to see who will seed combatants first. I may have to invest in some mercenary reinforcements and plant interlopers where death is currently holding our vain hope.

A second front of the scorched earth campaign took down vines covering the foliage unchallenged. They had been hiding horrific mines planted with the help of enemy canine patrols. They were attacked with two or three salvos. Nothing but remnants have been left behind.

The second phase of the war has already started: Decimation.

Correspondence

A green thought bubble
A friend of mine accused me of being old school today.

Lately I’ve been sending friends U.S. Mail letters.

I think that getting a piece of paper in the mail is appreciated a little more than a missive in e-mail. It’s got some substance that you can decide to save in a scrap book when it comes from someone special. I treasure the letters I got from my grandmother.

When you read the letter, you’re seeing more than merely the traces of my fingers on a keyboard tidied up by a spell checker. You can see that there is a real human that you are communicating with.

What’s more romantic? Getting an email from your date thanking you for a nice evening or a physical card expressing gratitude in a flowing cursive script?

I’m not real enamored with “internet time.” The passage of time gives some perspective. I’m less likely to go on a circuitous rant about the current political dispute if I take 10 minutes writing in ink. I’m not going to hit “send” with some half-baked whining that I’ll regret 10 seconds later.

Time has great power. I don’t take enough of it. When I write a letter, you know that it’s something from the heart.

A Colorful Sky

I look out my window and see the rain falling. The street is wet and the winds are calm. Recent days have been gloomy, but today is a good day to spend with a friend.

The shadows that come each night are not so frightening that they keep me alone. I see the moon rise and a beautiful constellation expands above me. I have nothing to fear and it is good to be here today.
A man fishing in the ocean waves
The ocean won’t wash me away today. I walk through the town and find new places to go. I’m glad that I am here today. I am glad that the sorrowful days have passed and I have much to look forward to.

Light comes down in a fabric of glistening pearls. Singing birds glow in its beauty and dance on the branches. A squirrel runs by and it is time for the roses to grow.

Although the sky is gray today, I know that I will see it’s colors soon. A blazing sun is fleeing the day and my time alone is near an end.

The land that surrounds me protects me and helps me rest. I will work in the morning and follow my path into tomorrow.

Original image: Each of them is fishing. By Corn Farmer [Image license]

Recovery Words: Self-Castigation

Self-castigation: attacking oneself with severe criticism, reproof and punishment.

Before recovery, this can be a way of life. The shame of letting your family down again. The regret of losing a job by acting out at work. Everything is your fault and you can’t get out of it.

It seems that the people around you are not as hard on you as you are to myself. You see all the lies and secrets and know how badly you’ve really been doing. The family is ready to forgive you and your friends just hope you’ll get better. You’re out on your own in your own head and that makes it all worse.

After a while, the self-castigation can become as bad as the effects of the substances or not having them when you need them. If you’re so bad that you can’t even control it when you want to, your shame and guilt don’t have an answer. One conclusion is that punishment and criticism are the responses that make sense.

Once this attitude has taken hold, it takes a long time for it to go away. When you make a small mistake, it reminds you of past big ones. You get support from your friends and you’re glad they’re in your corner. It’s almost as if you have a resentment against yourself and can’t let it go.

It was a big relief when this attitude isn’t your first way to respond to your own mistakes. You talk to people who understand you and believe them when they say you’re doing well and that they are glad to see you or hear from you.

When you’re alone, it’s hard to find a balance, but with friends and people who care giving you support, you can get closer to self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance: To be contented with, appreciate and respect oneself.