The tall slender birch trees stood at ridged attention like ancient sentries long forgotten and ghostly in the predawn darkness.  The birch ringed the clearing, which must have at one time or another been farm land, reminiscent of a whitewashed picket fence.  The thought made me smile, made me want to place the flat of my hand against the pale papery bark.  It made me wish that I was just on a small walk, just me, the clearing, and nature, but the truth was this wasn’t the time to be caught in daydreams. 

Part of me knew it was the escapist in me letting my eyes go unfocused and my mind wonder, another part registered how necessary this was for survival.  I knew that the mind could break under such stress and pressure without a free fall now and again.  So I savored my dark clearing and the peaceful birch guards watching over me because whether it was in a matter of hours, minutes, or split seconds the silence would end … and the moment would be lost to the waking world.  The peace would disappear like the morning mist and my sanity; with the blare of sirens, the call of machine guns, and the whistle of shells.  It was most decidedly not time for daydreams…

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