Busted Halo
feature: religion & spirituality
October 1st, 2001

Fort Pulaski-ed

A Spiritual Memo

 
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“You might as well bombard the Rocky Mountains,” an engineer boasted in 1829 of Fort Pulaski , a behemoth of brick and moat strategically entrenched in northern Georgia. Walls seven and a half feet thick. Well over a thousand yards from the nearest site where siege batteries could be placed. It was …unbreachable. Unsinkable.

Thirty years later, on the very first day it saw battle , it lay in rubble.

In the next millennium, the bullets still lay burrowed into the brick. I saw them myself, wondering at the sad fury of the Civil War. This place was so carefully built, so meticulously engineered, that after almost one hundred and fifty years of floating on mud, the foundation remains sound, the bricks completely untouched by crack or decay.

There is a drawbridge and a cannon track and tiny slits for shotgun barrels, if it ever came to that. They thought of absolutely everything when they built Fort Pulaski.

What they didn’t think of was rifled barrels. The spiraled grooves of a rifled shotgun or rifled cannon propel its shot farther and faster and with more horrific accuracy than ever thought possible. The Union Army, so equipped, demolished the Confederate-held fort from over half a mile away. Fort Pulaski’s day was permanently done by the middle of the afternoon.

We’ve all been Fort Pulaski-ed at some point in our lives: we construct the perfect emotional block, the ultimate plan, the clearly responsible route. Then the curved grooves of the rifled barrel skid us off course—we’re fired, we’re pregnant, we’re evicted. All the fire insurance in the world isn’t going to matter much to the tornado currently ripping apart the house next door.

You may shore your soul against premarital sex, careful to keep the lights and your panties on at all times, but when the occasion arises to trash a co-worker behind his back, are you so stubbornly Catholic? Evil strikes at armor chinks, not head-on at steel plates.

A gently-centered soul and a healthy spiritual relationship is the best antidote to the unexpected. Live and breathe and be you, but build those fort walls to be remodel-ready.

 
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The Author : Mary Beth Ellis
Mary Beth Ellis writes from Orlando, Florida.
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