By Tom Moore, CEO and Co-founder of WithYouWithMe
The sound of the trumpet rises the warrior, his eyelids shutter and blink and he quickly gains situational awareness, he smiles at the sound of reveille.
His mind is quick, sure and determined. He rubs his temples and his body creaks and squawks with pain like a wooden staircase straining after decades of traffic.
His body wasn’t always this way, he once could climb mountains, swim oceans and run cross-country. His thoughts drift to the ocean, the cylindrical shape of a wave, the roughness of the reef and the solitude provided by the ocean’s company. His first step shakes him back to his constrained reality.
A reality limited by his anatomic function created by his passion and dedication to duty. He drops to the ground and begins to push his body up and down to resist gravity. An exercise that was simple has now become a significant task. 80 repetitions is good but not good enough.
He jumps in the shower and enjoys the immediate relaxation of his muscles from the heated water. The pain is still there though; haunting his joints, muscles and discs. It hides, it moves, it shifts like a demon in an enlightened room. He closes his eyes and thinks of the ocean, the freedom of gliding down a wave, feeling it chop and change and adjust, an OODA loop in constantly changing terrain.
His alarm for his first lesson abruptly answers his daydream. He begins the struggle of putting on his uniform, it cracks and creaks like a wooden wagon on cobblestones. Each creak screams duty and resilience; a melody of scars and selflessness.
He glances at the picture of the surfer riding a wave. He switches to the mirror, his eyes roll smoothly over the DPCU. He can feel every colour change, every pattern and the familiarity. He can feel the Australian National Flag emblazoned on his shoulder. He can feel the stress depressions surrounding his eye sockets and wrinkles of his face. The weather of time and experience of trial and leadership.
He glances at the surfer, a world away…. so so far away.
He places on his headdress, checks the consistency of the bend and the symmetry and rubs the ANF just once.
The trumpets sound… and he smiles and the wave disappears from his consciousness.
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