“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man… the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.”
– Chief Seattle
Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.
– “Snow-flakes” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud,
Come floating downward in airy play,
Like spangles dropped from the glistening crowd
That whiten by night the milky way;
There broader and burlier masses fall;
The sullen water buries them all–
Flake after flake–
All drowned in the dark and silent lake.
– Excerpt from “The Snow-Shower” by William Cullen Bryant
© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
… not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky
Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.
– Excerpt from “The End” by Mark Strand
© 2013 Loren Zemlicka
The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
– Excerpt from “Snow-Bound” by John Greenleaf Whittier
“HANS CHRISTIAN HEG
COLONEL 15TH WIS. VOLS
BORN IN NORWAY
DEC. 21, 1829
FELL AT CHICKAMAUGA
SEPT. 19, 1863”
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Heg was appointed by Wisconsin Governor Alexander Randall as colonel of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment. Appealing to all young Norseman he said, “the government of our adopted country is in danger. It is our duty as brave and intelligent citizens to extend our hands in defense of the cause of our Country and of our homes.” The 15th Wisconsin was called the Scandinavian Regiment since its soldiers were almost all immigrants from Norway, with some from Denmark and Sweden. It was the only all Scandinavian regiment in the Union Army. On October 8, 1862, Colonel Heg led his regiment into its first action at the Battle of Perryville. Despite being under fire while being driven back several miles by the enemy, the 15th Wisconsin suffered few casualties and no fatalities. However, one of those hurt was Colonel Heg, who was injured when his horse fell.
Heg commanded the regiment during the Battle of Stones River. In response to his conduct at Stones River, Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans placed Colonel Heg in command of the newly formed 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division, XX Corps, Army of the Cumberland, on May 1, 1863.
On September 19, 1863, Colonel Heg led his brigade at the Battle of Chickamauga, where he was mortally wounded. Brave Col. Heg, commanding a brigade, “was shot through the bowels and died the next day.” Upon hearing of Heg’s death, Rosecrans expressed regret, saying he had intended to promote Heg to brigadier general. As it was, Colonel Heg was the highest-ranked Wisconsin soldier killed in combat during the Civil War.