With outstretched arms, head back, eyes closed, I beg for mercy but the sun grants no quarter. The sun’s interrogation of my past and present is relentless, but its demand to hear my next decision is almost unbearable.

A gentle rain of memories begins to fall on my face. The decision of a young man from the Ozark Mountains to serve his country was the first. On the eve of graduating high school, he was swept away from family and friends.

The decision to live on a cold, isolated island in the Bering Sea for eighteen months is not one he regrets. His next decision was no less bizarre. To some, it was cold hard steel surgically slicing through the oceans; to those aboard, it was their family and their home.

He loved charming exotic women from cultures he had only read about as a child. He does not regret the decision to not proceed with the marriage of a beautiful but adulterous Japanese woman.

He does not regret his decision to pursue more intellectually challenging endeavors – despite his loving, but draconian, father’s wishes. Now, he is confident his father is proud of his son’s decision.

The gentle rain permits me to open my eyes and gaze into the heavens. I lower my head and hands. My hands clinch green grass and I open my eyes to see the horizon. I do not see a mirage; I see a possible future. I have made a decision…