it is the night before the night before
and i do not know who is better off.
virgins or veterans
the virgins stand at the mouth of the beast.
they peer into that yawning chasm
and do not know what awaits them there.
it has become
so imminent.
many of their comrades in innocence have blinked.
their nerve has broken
and they are now at home
wondering how their adventure ended so prematurely.
but these ones have held on to the dream.
and now they are here.
listening to the tales of veterans
squinting into the darkness of the unknown
and wondering how they will respond when it is them.
wondering what it will be like
when it is real.
314 miles is not childs play
daily temperatures in triple digits is no laughing matter.
having the sky ripped apart by violent thunderstorms
with no recourse but to hunker down and keep moving
is a nightmare not a dream.

their imaginations fill with the unthinkable.
and the reality will be worse.
ahead of them are horrors they do not yet even conceive.
horrors with which,
in 3 days they will be intimate acquaintances.
yes, the virgins do not fully comprehend what is coming.
and they do not know if they can pass the test.

the veterans have been there
they are seasoned and battle tested.
they have been there before
and they have prevailed.
they know they can make it
but they know what is coming.
and they know how hard it will be.

i dont know who is really better off.

Categories: Vols2023