The Calm After the Storm
I have spent the last three weeks at our home in southern Vermont. The area around our home is a combination of mountains and mountain streams. My favorite place to run is on a dirt road that follows one of those streams. And, I love to hike to the top of the mountain and look north towards Killington and east towards New Hampshire. The view of mountain upon mountain is breathtaking.
Sunday was different.
The rain began sometime during the night and continued through the day on Sunday. Constant. Heavy. I ventured out mid-morning and watched the Black River rush by filled to capacity and within a couple of feet of the bottom of a bridge. When I ventured out again in the afternoon water was everywhere. 15 feet above normal crashing over a bridge. Rushing down Main Street swallowing cars and filling basements. Amazing and awful all at the same time. High water and heart-break.
I woke Monday morning to a picture perfect, late summer Vermont day.
Perfect…until you looked around.
The road a half block from our house was washed away.
A shed sat perched on the guard rail.
People walking around looking at the pieces of their lives broken apart by wind and rain and rushing water.
The whole week has been like that.
Perfect weather alongside the fragments of neighbors’ lives pulled out of homes and businesses and pilled up on the sidewalk. It has been hard to know what to think or what to feel. Gratitude for the beauty of the day? Heartbreak for the tragedy that continued to unfold around me? Both wound tightly together. But, that is how life is, right? An unsettling combination of gratitude and heartbreak. At least, that is, if you stop long enough to be grateful and look closely enough and carefully enough to see all those who share life with us.