My big idea about a 1,000-mile month might be dead already. We had a HUGE dust storm today. When I rode to the south side of the base in the morning the sky was clear and it looked really nice outside. Then at 10am the visibility went from miles to feet. I let the bike sit all day then rode back to the North side for the Aeneid book group. The whole four-mile trip the sand was hitting me like rain, I could hear it on my helmet and shoulders. It was accumulating in the creases I my uniform like some kind of foul snow.
Last night we discussed Eros in the CS Lewis book group. The discussion went on for all but two hours. So we were talking about Romantic love and going back to define friendship (philia) again to be sure the contrast is clear. In the course of discussing Eros, I became very aware that I was part of a group of friends. Steve, Abbie, Gene, Ian and Edgardo--the regular members--really do bring their own perspectives to the group and, as Lewis says, bring things out in the other friends that would never be as clear otherwise. Gene and Edgardo are both chaplains and both orthodox in their beliefs, but are very different politically. With Edgardo gone home on R&R leave the last week, we only have one chaplain and not the interplay between Edgardo and Gene. Abbie and Steve are both Air Force and both friends outside the group, but Abbie is intuitive and Steve is logical. They play off each other very well. Ian is younger than all the rest of us and, like Abbie, goes to both book groups. He is about 6'6" tall and quiet until a subject hits a chord in him, which Eros did. Ian could give us the single-guy perspective on Eros in new Millenium, showing CS Lewis needs some updating.
I said I would start to talk about what I would miss in Iraq. This group of friends is at the top of my list.