last week i drove from olympia to colorado. i needed to go back and see it all for myself. i was nervous as i drove into town and down 34. there were road blocks, but i drove around them, heading into the path of destruction. it hit me like a ton of bricks, seeing the debris piled on the side of the road, huge trees laying in the river. the only people using the road were workers and people whom obviously lived out that way. i started crying, my stomach was turning upside down. i was nervous, i was confused to see this place change. when i pulled onto the property i knew what to expect from photos, but it just felt weird. i couldn’t cry anymore, i couldn’t feel much of anything but shock. it just was not the same place. the sun was shining so bright, you could feel the autumn change in the sun. it was a vast difference from the gloomy afternoons we had had all summer. it was as though everything was constipated and it exploded with massive amounts of rain, leaving behind destruction and sunny blue skies. the least mother nature could have done was to get a colonic if she was that backed up. just kidding, but not really.
i walked around the property taking it all in with little feeling- it seems in times of tragedy it feels so unreal to me that i dont know what to feel. the concord grapes were still there and you could smell there sweetness in the hot autumn sun. my neighbor had come out with a volunteer. i walked across the newly built dirt road to the other side of the river and entered a war zone. or maybe a movie set. that is what it felt like. my neighbors houses were under sand. we could walk right on to the roof. cars buried in sand, propane tanks on tops of trees. dead fish tangled in the mess of debris, and random bits of houses just hanging out. laura has started digging their way out finding a small amount of their previous items. they plan to take the roof off and dig their way down.
i have never witnessed a disaster first hand. i have come close twice now. ( i was suppose to fly to nyc the day after septemeber 11) and this is the first time i have seen anything like this in person. though i lost nothing, my memories feel bruised. after about 30 minutes i just couldn’t look at it anymore. later that night i kept wanting to go back, to make sure it was all real. i wasn’t sure where to put my memories. the sight of it all was overpowering my time there. i am sure it will for a while. for now, i seem to just be trucking along, making jokes about the tragedy, because it is the only way i know how to deal with it. i wasn’t even sure how to post this- i didn’t want to keep harping on it, but it seemed only fitting to tell the truth. i write this from nyc now, a whole different world from my cabin on the river. hanging out in hipsterville of williamsburg makes me realize how lucky i was to have that time there.