And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863~
Peace at times seemed like an unintelligible word from a foreign language. Generator motors hummed, truck engines coughed and roared to life, Humvees rumbled over sandy rocks and pitted roads. Small arms fire chattered and every so often mortars echoed over the city. Even without the sounds of an unended war, the shuffle, hustle, and bustle of thousands of small and large feet, the whispers and rustles of clothing, the shouts of anger and laughter added to the cacophony.
Could peace be found in the shrapnel scars of a truck?
Could peace be found in the whines and growls of scavenging wild dogs?
Could peace be found in the rush of adrenaline once the team realized they were trespassing on forbidden territory and ever more risking life and limb?
Could peace be found in the pulse of rock or hip-hop vibrating from laptops and iPod earbuds?
Could peace be found in the face of a child living in a mud hut with too many family members for such a small space?
Peace was found in the knowledge of survival in the split second delay of detonation.
Peace was found in seeing pictures of well-cared for and loved pets waiting patiently at home.
Peace was found in returning to a temporary home after a strained patrol.
Peace was found in shared smiles over shared music and memories.
Peace was found in the face of that child, clutching a new soccer ball with glee, racing barefooted through the rocky dirt to start a pick-up game of football with a brilliant white grin gleaming through the dust.
Peace was found in the dawning of a new day, the sounding of waking birds, and the knowledge that he was one day closer to home, where he would feel true peace in the arms of family.
This blog post was written for the One Word at a Time "Peace" blog carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley and Peter Pollock at Peter's blog. Please visit for links to others' thoughts on "peace."