In the intense heat of the early afternoon everything is still in the Ohlone Wilderness. No birds are singing, there is no breeze, nothing moves, there are no other hikers out here – it’s almost surreal. For some reason I’m reminded of Martin Gilbert’s “The First World War”. His vignettes describing the horror of the war remind me how fortunate I am in this moment to be free and have the opportunity to hike.
By contrast try to imagine what it must have been like during the initial barrage that opened the battle of the Somme in July 1916. The allied forces used over 1500 guns for a period of 8 days firing over 1,500,000 shells, that’s nearly 8,000 shells per hour or 130 shells a minute.
Leaving aside the abhorrent physical danger for the moment imagine the deafening noise that ensued for 8 days without a break. Imagine how each solder must have felt, whether attacking or defending – knowing that when this carnage of noise abated the real carnage would begin.
I’m reflecting on the men and the trenches and how they probably longed to be out of that hell and back to normal life and here I am nearly 100 years later enjoying a normal life that is full of choice. Continue reading “All’s Quiet in the Ohlone Wilderness” »