Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Yesterday I was driving home from Anacortes after a very pleasant weekend with my son and his daughters. The traffic was flowing very smoothly and I was listening to the radio, (NPR). I heard the first announcements about the bombs at the Boston Marathon. I found myself weeping. My reaction was so intense it surprised me. I hadn't seen a picture so that reaction was strictly visceral.
I am inclined to react with intensity to any event that triggers an emotional reaction, but my feelings yesterday were influenced by the time I spent in Boston after my daughter's graduation from college. She encouraged me to walk all over the city. So now, twenty-eight years later, the memories I have of Boston are still very clear.
As the announcers talked of the events in Boston, I could easily bring to mind my mental pictures of the area being discussed. I am quite accustomed to listening to the radio as I drive and since I do not watch television my mind forms pictures very easily. I could see the carnage. I could feel the shock and the pain of the persons involved.
My training as a firefighter led me to picture the activities of the police, firefighters and others at the scene. I knew what was happening because I've been involved in similar situations, though certainly not as horrible. My emotional reaction surprised me since one of the parts of my training involves turning off your emotions and handling the job at hand. Now, I can understand that having no need to do that I was able to feel the intensity not allowed at other times.
I made that drive in just under three hours, a record for driving that distance and through the east side of the Seattle metro-plex. I don't believe I've ever made a faster drive. I find that I am able to relive many parts of the drive. I think my awareness of the events around me was heightened because I was feeling with such intensity.
I find myself wondering about the why's of my reactions. I think I have "witnessed" so many events of great emotional intensity. My father fell through the ice on the river where we were skating when I was a very young child and I remember that incident very clearly. I remember the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed and the feelings that surrounded me as I observed my grandparents as we waited for the announcement that Japan had surrendered. I think my reactions to the tragedy in Boston were influenced by my lifetime of memories and the emotions that surrounded the events of my times.
I wonder how many of the other listeners yesterday were equally reminded of long past events? How does our past influence our current emotions? How are our perceptions of now changed by our previous observance?
I am very concerned for the children who were injured in Boston. Those who lost limbs are in my thoughts. How will their lives be changed by their involvement? How many of them will take on those events as a challenge and how many will be defeated? There are so many questions racing through my mind. I think I need to take more time to reflect.
Friday, December 07, 2012
I've added a new picture to my SparkPage. The lenticular clouds above the mountain are not unusual, they generally signal a coming change in the weather. However this picture, which was taken from my side of the mountain shows the lenticular clouds catching the morning sun. That is unusual.
This mountain has many moods. She sometimes hides for days while she changes her gown and then in a burst of beauty she displays all her glory for the world to see. She is always beautiful and often stunning. She stands strong and tall, above the trials of the people below and provides a sense of peace to those of us who look for her each day.
It is said that you are a real Washingtonian if you can on a foggy day accurately point to at least five mountains. I have learned where are all the mountains from just north of the Canadian border down to just south of the California/Oregon border. I am speaking of those mountains that show a profile above the surrounding hills. I am pleased with this feat. It means that I am quite familiar with each of these mountains and can identify each of them by their unique shape.
I grew up in Michigan, were the landscape was generally flat. In fact the area where I grew up had once been a marsh. Now the rich black soil grows wonderful onions, celery and sugar beets. I never saw a real mountain until I came west. I was enchanted and heartened by those strong visages. I understood the biblical comment, "I looked up unto the hills from which cometh my strength."
I know now that I will not ever want to live away from "my" mountains. I glory in each changing view. There is strength there in that marvelous beauty. And in these mountains there is the element of danger. We saw one of our mountains erupt not so long ago and Mt Rainier is way beyond its periodicity. It could erupt at any time. Hopefully she will give warning as did St Helens. I do not live on the weak side of the mountain, still there is the danger of a Lahar.
A lahar happens when the glaciers suddenly melt and bring all the silt and gravel from them racing down the mountain picking up more silt and debris as it races to the sea. Lahars are deadly, but they often produce a great deal of beauty. The sand from St Helens was harvested and made into beautiful glass. No two pieces were the same and they were all treasures.
I don't know if Rainier will have similar sand, it is very rich with iron. Our water is orange like the water in Michigan was. What ever she gives us we will be richer for being close to her. We reap the benefit of rain because she stops the clouds and holds them hostage until they pay the ransom of rainfall. Then she releases them to drift on east to the Rockies. That rain produces some of the most beautiful forests in the world.
It is not possible to imagine what it is like to lie in the forest beneath our trees and look up. There is a star there. Not necessarily with five points, but a star nonetheless. At night that star frames the stars in the sky beautifully.
In the spring and fall our trees capture the dew and glow in the light of the moon or headlights. I used to tell my children and grandchildren that the glow was fairy dust that was scattered to show us where to go. I still look at those dew clad trees with a soft love one gives to those that assure our children.
My children have grown, and their children have blossomed and the mountain and the trees keep vigil over my family. They will always be her for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to come home to. They will always be beautiful and reassuring. For that I am most grateful.
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