Not sure why I'm often reminded of this phrase from Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, but it does come back to me often. Might be part of that whole 'carpe diem' speech I give myself every few days. That part in the book is just slightly more awesome than the rest of the book, which is awesome - here are two graphs (pp. 224-5):
On the other side of the rise, bodies and vehicles are everywhere. The wind blows. I assume this is what remains of an Iraqi convoy that had stopped for the night. Twelve vehicles--either troop carriers and four supply trucks--are in a cirle. Men are gathered dead around what must have been their morning or evening fire. This is disturbing, not knowing what meal they were eating. I am looking at an exhibit in a war museum. ZBut there are no curators, no docents, no benefactors with their names chiseled into marble. The benefactor wish to remain anonymous.
The sand surrounding me is smoky and charred. I feel as though I've entered the mirage. The dead Iraqis are poor company, but the presence of so much death reminds me that I've alive, whatever awaits me to the north. I realize I may never again be so alive. I can see everything and nothing--this moment with the dead men has made my past worth living and my future, always uncertain, now has value.
If you haven't read it yet - or seen the movie - I highly recommend both, though the book, for me, was better - because it had all of Swofford's kick-ass prose in it. You totally feel like you're right there, in that brutal desert, when you're reading it.
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