ryan, thank you for reading and connecting with this piece. It was my hope other veterans felt the same and that it touched on the pulse we often feel. Like you, I try to live a little bit of a quieter life—tromping around the woods, hiking, feeling soil beneath your feet, time with friends and family. The war is still there like a small fire stoked and left constantly burning, but as you beautifully stated, that hardness reminds me to be soft. And the softness can be hardened into the warrior if ever needed again. Cheers to you as well, brother.