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The Wild Irises Were in Bloom

"Welcome to camp. Now let's get it done."
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Read Time 3 min
Published 11 months ago
Competition Entry: Cheers to 10 Years Flash

The wild irises are blooming in the woodlands as you follow your compass bearings while orienteering. Don't lose your way. Not today.

You can do this. The day is lovely. The end of spring. Summer is soon here. Enjoy the beauty of the riparian landscape. 

You've waited years for the chance. You can't let it slip away. Just do it.

Getting your body into shape was hard enough for someone of your age. But you passed a preliminary physical test by the platoon sergeant. Then you got here to the camp and passed another fitness test to remain. Completing the training will make you eligible for promotion to sergeant. Completing leadership training is necessary.

So, keep limping along the trail. The pack is not too heavy. Geography is your forte. Use your strengths. Ignore the pain. 

Only another week to go. You've been rising up at zero four hundred each day. Slowly climbing down from the bunk bed and stretching the tendon in your heel. Taking some simple ibuprofen and once a day the strong stuff.

Thank goodness you had some stronger stuff leftover from dental surgery. That was smart to bring it along. You'll get through.

Stretching out the tendon until you can walk with effort. Getting it done. When the swelling is down you can finally get your combat boots on. 

Someone said it was stupid for the trainers to make you do wind sprints after running two miles. Just the second day you're in camp and suddenly, with one of the sprints, your Achilles tendon is pulled. No way to tell how badly. Limping is necessary and you favor that leg for sure. 

If you go to sick call you will be taken care of. Unfortunately, taking care of you means they would send you to a doctor who would send you home. No way can you continue training with a strained tendon. So you just ignore it and work through it. Just limping along here in the camp area is easy. Going to the classes in the Quonset huts. It's when you field train that it gets hard. But you are making it.

Then you pull the other tendon. Hiking on maneuvers out in the woods with the platoon, carrying a full pack, you were favoring the pulled tendon. The other one now is strained. You almost go down. You're not going to stop now.

Another soldier helps by taking your Alice pack, carrying it back to the barracks for you. True camaraderie, always. Luckily it was time to head in. You rest yourself until the next day. Up again at zero four hundred, stretching both tendons now. 

No worries. You'll get it done. This is your last chance. The final week of a two-week training camp. 

Finally, graduation day. Walking across the stage you hear someone whispering, talking about another soldier who graduated wearing running shoes instead of combat boots. At least you wore your boots.

The final bit. You have to drive home. Two hundred and thirty miles. Three and a half hours. The end of spring and flowers still in bloom.

There you may rest.   




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