The American Civil War was, top-to-bottom and on both sides, a religious war. If you don't understand that, you don't understand anything about America.
When I was young we were taught to sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in school. I imagine that's not done nowadays.
A faint yellow cast to the sky this morning, but it's been an extraordinarily easy smoke season here, this year, given that it's been weeks and weeks with no real rain. Everything is as dry as the shriveled sponge you might find on a high shelf in the laundry room. If the rains come soon we may get off lightly. They're still at least ten days away. I check the ten-day forecast every day. Nothing. It's been a lovely late summer: cool mornings and warm afternoons, and golden haze in the distance.
I used to wake every morning and spring out of bed: I'd be on my feet before I really knew I was awake, eager for the day, intent on my breakfast and my book and my brief ambitions. Now I wake slowly, even if my bladder is full and urgent. I look at my hands in the morning dark, open them wide and clench them curiously into fists, to see if they'll do it. Still alive: still strong. I'm still here, for some reason. Or for none. I hear the cry of gulls, in my mind's ear. They don't really come this far up from the river: it's some trick of my gimpy auditory processing. I turn on my side, throw off the covers, swing my legs forward into emptiness, freeze my core, and push myself upright with one arm. From there I can stand without any particular stress on my lower back. I sway slightly, reassuring it: see? I can move that much, and no sirens go off. A new day. Thus.
Glory, glory hallelujah! His truth is marching on.