I am in Pearisburg, taking a day off for my blisters to heal.
I go on a historical adventure.
I walk down Main Street, past the historical Andrew Johnston house, past the post office, and toward the county court house.
I look at the Confederate Monument, commemorating the Confederates who died in the War Between the States (Civil War).
I look at the monument for the dead from World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War.
I served in Vietnam in 1971-1972. I saw the bullshit up close.
I read Chapter 16 from the Tao te Ching, translated by Steven Mitchell.
“Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.”
I walk past the court house toward the Confederate graves.
“Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.”
I look at the graves of unknown Confederate dead.
“Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.“
I return to the Andrew Johnston house.
“Returning to the source is serenity. If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.“
Looking through the window, you can see a small building which was the Union Army headquarters after they arrived on May 6, 1862. These forces contained two future US Presidents: Rutherford Hayes (1877-1881) and William McKinley (1897-1901). Confederate General Henry arrived on May 9 and after a brief skirmish, Union forces withdrew.
“When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as king.
I look at the Union Headquarters building, which was a doctor’s office made into a museum.
“Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.”
I look at things in the museum. There are images that are unusual.
Between the two women, there is a donkey head.
I walk toward the doctor museum and look back at the Johnston House. During the Civil War skirmish, a Union soldier was shoot guarding a burning church across the street. The sniper fired from the front of the house.
I get moleskin for my blisters.