I have learned this week that I don’t know how to write about sorrow. A young friend , a seventeen year old girl, has been killed in a car accident along with a 20 year old man. The other passenger in the car, a 19 year old man, has been seriously injured but is doing well. I have tried several times to write of this tragedy, which came one week after the suicide of another young man in our community, but how do you summarize a life in a few paragraphs? How do you put into words all of the ways that grief colors your days?
I have learned that my community embraces families that endure such tragedies with food and financial support, sharing memories and tears. That is a positive thing about our community, but I wish I did not learn it through such sad circumstances as our friends losing their beautiful vibrant daughter. I wish I did not have to find out how many people in our community loved the seventeen year old with the amazing friendly smile after she was gone. And I wish, so much, that I did not have to hold my daughters, or watch them huddle together with their friends, while their bodies shook with inexpressible grief.
Mid-week, my husband’s 86 year old uncle passed away. Saturday we drove across the state for his funeral service, having already attended the services for our young friend a few days before. All around us, as we drove, was evidence of the season progressing. At first, the fact that life goes on despite one’s troubles seems a cruelty of nature. As we drove, leaves fell from the trees like tears falling to the earth. Wind blew some of the leaves away. I realized, as I have in the past, that the progression of the seasons is not a cruelty, but a gentle, healing balm.
On the ride home, we stopped to hike a path in a national forest. We walked 300 steps downhill to fresh water springs filling the wide slow-moving expanse in a river bed. The sound of the gurgling freshets, the crisp leaves underfoot, the deep peaceful shade under a canopy of branches restored us, as we walked together.
The photos that accompany this post are from Haiku’s walk closer to home today. She went to find the quiet, and to walk the healing trail through the shadows and light in the woods.
photos by Haiku, November 4, 2007