My son Levi took this from an access road on the opposite hillside on March 24th. He had to actually photograph a series of shots to get the whole thing in.
As many of you know, everything in the Stillaguamish valley changed dramatically on March 22, 2014. Under all that mud was a neighborhood, a community. Kids with bikes and balls, pets, homes. Every person I know in the area was somehow touched by that tragedy. They all knew someone who was lost or were related to someone who was lost. There were those that suddenly found that there was a 2 hour addition to their commute in each direction morning and night. Some people stayed what we call “down below” either with friends or sheltered by FEMA, etc. Some of them don’t see their families for days at a time. There were those that lost everything they owned, except their mortgage in some cases. There are those that are still dealing with fears both up and downstream of the slide from flooding or a sudden breakthrough of the dammed river washing away their homes. My heart aches and my throat closes just thinking about it.
This is the western edge of the slide. You can see a white house across the river that was just missed.
There was a flipside to those losses, and that is the incredible bravery and stamina of those that have put their own lives at risk in the rescue work, and the tireless work of those who supported them. Those people saw things no one should have to see. They found our dead, and every time they did and the helicopter would come to lift the bodies away all work would stop and everyone watched them go. The respect and love shown to the victims really honors us all.
2nd shot, still toward the western edge heading to the middle. The humps are debris under the mud, including homes.
There were the the people in charge who handled logistics, made decisions, took the brunt of the press and dealing with a lot of grieving folks. Thanks for your sleepless nights and the courage to make difficult choices. The local business people that worked so hard to keep up with demands, contributed funds and goods to help the locals were outstanding. Our largest local employer, Hampton Lumber, was absolutely stellar about letting the guys off work to take part in the rescue effort or be with their families and friends. They’ve been hush hush about their contributions to the victims and their families. They’re not in it for publicity, like some companies would be. I admire that. Then there were men and women that came from all over to help. I saw trucks from the San Juan islands, Skagit county, Marysville, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Stanwood, even an airboat from Orange, Texas. I know I’m forgetting a lot of them. It was a blur. They came and covered shifts so the locals could continue the search.
The center toward the east.
No one will ever forget those awesome women who fed everyone. I’ve never seen so many cookies and goodies in one place in my life as I did at the community center! There were those that contributed to our community’s needs out of the kindness of their hearts, those who were inspired to put together their own ‘relief convoys’ and brought truckload after truckload of food for both people and animals, including livestock. Above all I kept hearing over and over again from those who live outside of our community, like the press, that they just had a hard time believing that such a community spirit still exists in this day and age. I had one reporter tell me that it reminded him of his hometown in Texas, that he could tell the roots of the community are southern. 🙂 His photographer didn’t know what to make of it. She said “All these ladies just kept asking me what I wanted to eat, if I’d eaten, here honey, have a bite to eat you look hungry…” LOL
I saw so many people hugging each other, everyone was comforting someone somehow, and even those who had suffered great losses of their own were doing their best to comfort others. It really shows that there are still good people out there, kind people, if you look for them and give them the chance to shine.
The eastern edge of the slide, towards Hazel, and the beginning of the ponding from the river being dammed.
One thing I kept hearing over and over again on various news shows was ‘it was an act of God’ or ‘God took him’ and I just want to share what gave me some comfort from the bible about that idea. In the bible in the book of Ecclesiastes at chapter 9, verse 11 it says
“The swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all.”
In other words, bad things happen. Unfair things happen. It’s not God’s fault, it just happens.
We’re all familiar with the scripture at John 3:16 where Jesus said ““For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” A God of love doesn’t kill people or allow their deaths because ‘he needed another angel’. No. Another scripture, James 1:13, says this:
“When under trial let no one say, ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.”
The bible explains clearly why God has allowed people to suffer this long, and that he is going to undo all the bad that has happened very soon. Revelation 21:3-4 will come true.
“With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
These bad times, the “former things,” will pass, God promises it, and he never lies. This article explains God’s promises in the bible about when natural disasters will be a thing of the past earth wide. I hope it brings you as much comfort as it did me.
Most of all, though, I just want to say Thank You to everyone who took it upon themselves to get involved, to show kindness to those who had lost so much. Thank you.