At heart, I believe myself to believe in peace.
In my life, I have tried to embrace that which seems to encourage the same. From the blues to the buddha, pacifism to poetry, the canvas to the cradle, the word to the wine, the trails to the tables, mother nature to father time, I have tried to forge relationships that bring peace to my soul, and to those whom I encounter. I am of course a failure at this; violence is in all our hearts, be it physical, emotional or spiritual, and my heart is no different of a cavern; in its shadowed reaches lies the worst of the human soul. Though ideally, abed alongside the best.
From the mountain, the meditation. I believe myself to believe in peace.
So it is often hard to reconcile to the idea of war, to remember that at heart, what a soldier fights for is not the war, but for the peace to follow. That war and peace must always walk hand in hand is the toughest dream to sleep through. So we take our stands; left-right, liberal-conservative, hawk-dove, pacifist-militarist. We protest, and we wave flags. We shout through our bullhorns, and we rage in our letters. And we sit in our homes, in the gathering dusk, and we think, and we worry, and we dream. We protest quietly and embrace loudly, protest loudly, and embrace quietly. We are, none of us, at peace. Because somewhere there is war, and so everywhere, there is politics.
When you read the news today, there will be awful stories there; atrocities unimaginable. There will be bombings, and rapes, and gunfire, and thievery, and kidnapping, and torture. Lives will have been lost, bodies maimed, towns, villages, cities, destroyed.
What there will not likely be is a story about someone who kills — first others, then themselves — after drinking a bottle of well-aged Cabernet.
Because wine is a drink of peace.
Wine is the liquid patron saint of friends, family, and lovers. In the pantheon of liquid gods, it is the storyteller, the singer, the healer, the forger of friendships, the mender of rifts, the romancer. It is the liquid poet god.
So today, let us discard politics. Let us discard the schisms of duality, of left and right, pro and con, hawk and dove. Let us embrace not the wars, but the peace that follows.
Let us toast our veterans with the drink of peace.
To you, the veterans of the wars, I raise a glass. Thank you for braving the wars, so that the peace may then follow.