Operational Pause over just in time for the Dark Ages

The Operational Pause was necessary (more on that in a bit), but just like the Mids, it’s time to get back at it. Somehow, it feels appropriate that it happens as we begin the journey through the Dark Ages.

Year to year, there are numerous similarities between the gloomy stretch that spans the end of Winter Break and the onset of Spring Break, but each year seems to have its own wrinkles, too. Some years, the Dark Ages can be dark, indeed. I’m thinking in particular of 2020 when this new virus called COVID-19 had just started to seep into our vocabulary and we lost Mid David Forney and Duke Carrillo within weeks of each other on the heels of the senseless shooting in Pensacola that robbed us of recent graduate Kaleb Watson. Our sincere prayer is that we don’t go to those depths in 2022.

This year’s edition of the Dark Ages started with a theme of its own and that seemed to be Planes, Trains, and Automobiles … wait, you’ve never heard of the movie? Good Lord am I old.

Scene from Planes, Trains, And Automobiles. If you travel at all, you should watch it!

OK, let’s simplify it – this year’s Dark Ages started with a lot of travel troubles. Traveling during the COVID Omicron surge presents its own set of challenges, especially for airlines totally unprepared for the volume of travelers, but when you add a bunch of winter weather, well, you have a real mess on your hands. All this despite the fact that Navy did, in fact, beat Army.

So my Facebook feed overflowed with posts about stranded Mids, canceled flights, requests for rides, questions about “what happens if my Mid reports late?” and that sort of thing. As always seems to be the case, they FIO – figure it out – and managed to get settled in for the long stretch to March 11. Not that everything is back to normal. No, Omicron continues to cast its long shadow and the Mids have to deal with the latest edition of Viet-ROM in some way or another.

In my experience, these first few weeks are a challenge, but February ushers in the real grind. The good vibes from Winter Break have faded into memory and the road the mid-March seems to have no end in sight. I’ve often believed February is the shortest month because it’s the most miserable … maybe that’s because I loathe winter so much. But January at least has the hangover from Christmas and the hope of a new year. March usually includes Spring Break and the ushering in of Spring. They bookend February, which gets no love from me despite Valentine’s Day.

But the Dark Ages are here and despite everything else, they can’t stop the clock. The Mids (and their families) will get to the other side.

***

A note on the Operational Pause

I love writing and have from a young age. And writing about something I love – like the Naval Academy – is about as good as it gets. So when I hit the pause button on this blog, I didn’t do so lightly. Not because there’s a legion of hardcore followers who wait with bated breath for the next post. I’m not that arrogant (or stupid). It was tough because I do love it so. But I did it because sometimes you have to put down the things you want to do because there are things you need to do.

I’m not on the other side of those things quite yet, but am moving in the right direction. There will come a time when I write about them – again, not because folks are curious, but because it will feel good to put it all on virtual paper. Writing is therapeutic like that. For now, I just want to get back in the groove again, open up the laptop and let the words flow. I’m rusty, I know that. And I know from experience that like anything, it will take a while to get to a place where I’m comfortable with doing it and feeling all the benefits of my chosen passion and probably even more time before I produce anything that I can look at and say, “Hey, not half bad.” But it will come. And I hope you’ll come with me. If you do, thanks for your patience.

I wrote a lot more about writing and not writing (how meta of me, no?) on my other blog if that interests you.

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