To The End, To Failure, To You & Me

We filed in, the last visitors in uniform of the day. There is no good news on this floor of the hospital; people here often aren’t going home. Family members stand teary-eyed and solemn, holding vigil over their loved ones as they slip loose these earthly shackles and transition to …

5128

On May 5th, 2015, the City of Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to its five thousand one hundred and twenty eighth call for the year. For run #5128, Engine Company #1, C-shift was toned out for a “fire in a house” call at approximately 7:50am. The house in question was …

Thank You, Anonymously

The note with my handwritten name on the envelope arrived at the firehouse, an event unusual enough. We rarely receive personal mail there outside of the obligatory thank-you note from grade school kids after a tour or event. The hand writing caught my eye, as I did not recognize it. …

Do It All Over, Again

“Your story isn’t calm. The road has been chaotic at times, filled with detours and rain and loss so sudden and soon. Sometimes, the bliss was so elevated your heart could hardly hold it. Sometimes it was maddening to have, and then to lose. You learn soon enough that it …

Ring Of Fire

The tones came in as they would any other: “House fire, xxx East xxx Street for Engine 7, Engine 10, Truck 6, Truck 10, Rescue 1, Battalion 1, Battalion 8, Air 8″, and we loaded up on the rig, ready to roll to an unknown; these kinds of calls happen …

Thaw & Light

O, Wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?  – Percy Shelley I’ve always loved the winter. It’s cold and stark and you can, to quote Wyeth, feel the bone structure of the landscape. Growing up in Southern California, it meant that the temperatures dropped from 78 degrees to …

Cover Me Up

“Heart on the run/keeps a hand on the gun/You can’t trust anyone.” – Jason Isbell Where do we go when we need support and love as our hearts collapse and we can’t lift ourselves up alone? The faithful go to church, the introvert turns to a book, the songwriters craft …

To Love, Again

Slowly entering the crowded hospital elevator with a glass vase of roses in each hand, I could hear the barely audible sighs of the nurses and techs for whom these weren’t intended. “9th floor, please,” murmured over a grin to the wide eyed lady in scrubs nearest the buttons. “Whoever …

On Purpose

“Don’t outsource your mission.” These words could be from a military unit commander or the fire department chain of command, but instead they were issued by the local gym owner as a mandate as we seek our purpose in this life. The workout was set up as a fundraiser/dedication to …

Calibrated In A Time Of Chaos

“Wherever You Are, Be There” -This, as as seen on a bumper sticker on the back of a hybrid, while its disheveled driver swerved erratically as he talked on his phone and angrily jabbed a cigarette towards the front windshield. Wherever it was he was, it wasn’t here. It must …