Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Drive to Darrington

After waiting in line for awhile and granddaughter and I talking about our day and the report she wants to write for school, the pilot car and cars in front of us begin moving forward. 

You are on asphalt and realize as you look ahead, you are looking to a pile of debris. Never having been in this area before you begin feeling very reverent because you know in the blink of an eye, peoples lives were changed, peoples lives were lost, homes obliterated, pets gone, vehicles demolished and entire families left in shock.

Making the turn onto the gravel road, you notice the debris piles ahead
  It is 10 MPH and there are warnings all along the route, 'No stopping, no parking as they do not want people just pulling over and gawking around.  Not to mention the road is only large enough for 1 vehicle so you move forward and with each foot you move ahead, you feel your mind trying to process what it is seeing.

Trust me, You simply Cannot!!
The road traveled between Arlington and Darrington

Beyond this clump of tree's are mounds and mounds of debris and dirt and tree piles

Even the pictures cannot capture the shear emptiness and sadness you feel

This mountain was once covered in trees, you can't see to well here, but it is gone
 It is when I saw this first flag that I realized I had tears streaming down my face, that I wasn't mourning for these families, but that my soul was mourning them for me. 

Your soul realizes the flag waves to show resilience of Americans, but it also has come to symbolize, the people are strong, they have endured something none of us 'just driving through,' can ever imagine, but your soul, feels it!'
One of several flags flying at half staff

No one was here when we went by, but seeing the large propane heater, these tents may be for evening!

Standing tall are electrical towers on the mountain
 Have you ever noticed that during the worst disasters, that somehow our electrical infrastructure many times is still standing? I have always wondered how these massive towers can withstand so much and still stand tall.
Going higher up, you can see the road on the other side that winds down and around

This is what is left of the mountain, this is the path it took between the two sides of tree's
 We turn and all of a sudden, I am crying. I don't know these people, but I can feel their loss, I know that 41 lost their lives in the area we are driving through and I know that just beyond this flag, through the trees, I can see a homestead that was spared.

How does one wrap their minds around that? That those around you are gone, their homes are gone, their lives, their animals and yet, you were spared?

I have no answers for how or why things like this happen, but I know all we can do is mourn for those lost and live our lives as they would want us to, to move forward and to never give up.
Beyond this flag, behind the trees is a homestead, it took my breath away!

These cars were found this way, they were not staged or placed this way!

Just a small portion of the tree's that came down!

This was once a car!

You want to keep moving, your heart is so heavy with pain for those who were lost
We keep driving, Shyann keeps taking pictures and a part of me wants to tell her that is enough, but I can't, because I want everyone to see what it is truly like driving through here.

I want her classmates who have only seen this on television to see this through her eyes, for her to tell her story, for them to understand that perhaps there is a lesson for them to learn here, that we don't always have tomorrow, the next hour or even the next minute to be kind to each other, to say we are sorry to each other, that perhaps, her journey will show how quickly things change.

This journey is for all of you, the quilters who have stitched and stitched and sent quilts to bless the families of those who are gone. To bless those first responders who I cannot imagine their experience but they stayed day in and day out and refused to leave.

For those still working in the area, from the security guard that greets each car to tell them about their wait with a smile on his face, to the flagger's, the pilot car drivers, the Washington State Patrolmen, those working the earth machines, your quilts are for them.

These quilts remind them, someone cares enough to give back to them in a way that we hope will bless them. On a day sitting in a truck or earth mover, they may return to their home and see that quilt and know someone cares, just as they care to keep moving forward.

Everywhere I looked, there were signs saying, 'Oso Strong,' they are a proud people, an independent people and the mountain may have taken friends and family members, but I assure you from those I have met and talked to, the mountain didn't take their resolve.

My prayers and love go out to this community and out to you for in someway, I believe your love and your quilts will help them heal.

Tomorrow, another part of the journey!

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