Happy Wednesday! After traveling 3,800 miles through Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and back, I’m pleased to be home. I was on assignment documenting the experiences of geology students in photographs and words. Most of the time we were either out of cell range or too busy to update ourselves on the news of the day.
What a relief.
Instead of facing the constant drumbeat of doom – AKA the news media and Twitter – we tangled with such challenges as sore feet, sweltering heat, a surprising cold spell, scary cliffs to scramble up and down, and the problem of erecting a tent in a thunderstorm without allowing the tent to get wet inside. (On that last difficulty, I chickened out and slept in one of our vans.)
But now I’ve come back to so-called reality only to discover, among many other distressing things, that torrents of desperate people are fleeing the Middle East. I turn on the TV to images of bodies being carted from a truck, thousands attempting to walk to freedom, and a dead toddler in the surf. These refugees could have been my own grandmother who fled Austria just before World War I. That child could have been my son. I wonder if reality is worth the price of admission.
But then I look closer. While some people turn their backs on the refugees, others help them. Many cheered as refugees made it to a safe haven in Germany. Hungarians declared that they were ashamed of of their leaders who tried to bottle up the refugees, and these fine people handed out water and food to the thousands who set out to walk to safety. Mayors throughout Europe have even begun to open their cities to the desperate families.
Not everyone is helping. We need better solutions, not the least of which is lasting peace, but I take heart from the fact that some people, sometimes respond in what I think is the most human way possible. When you see someone hurting, you step in to do what you can to stop the pain.
This is the reality I have faith in.
For perspective on the death of the refugee boy, I recommend Susan Ager’s piece in National Geographic online.
In this photo, our group arrives at Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah.