Zip Lines & Life Lines

February 17, 2023


Disaster strikes and the bright media spotlight captures our attention…before the news cycle moves on, taking our attention with it. Lucky us that we don’t stay long with the energy of that trauma. But for those at the epicenter, it is months and years before their lives begin to move beyond the trauma of the tragedy.

In the aftermath of California’s recent storms, a washed out bridge would cut off many residents in the small community of Corralitos from food and supplies. But as the rains came down and the bridge washout became eminent, a local resident had a plan. He built a zip line just a day before the bridge was destroyed. Although residents say accessing food and supplies is now a six hour ordeal, the zip line has become their life line. The creek will have to recede before engineers can asses the bridge let alone rebuild it. The zip line won’t be obsolete any time soon.

Governments move slowly, often too slowly to provide a meaningful response. And that’s if they aren’t corrupt. In Turkey, after a quake in 1999 killed more than 17,000 people, an ‘earthquake tax’ was imposed with the intention of providing a disaster relief fund. As the death toll from Turkey’s recent quakes is expected to reach 56,000 according to a UN emergency aid official, that fund estimated at $36 billion is no where to be found. 

When we rely on governments and organizations, those populated with people we don’t know and who don’t know us, to keep us safe we so often find our faith is misplaced. When we expect government and even corporate laws and regulations to come to our rescue we can encounter layer of lies, finger pointing, and abdication of responsibility piled on the layers of trauma. Just ask the residents of Palestine, Ohio. Just ask the residents of Jacksonville, Mississippi. Just ask….the list is endless. 

After the media spotlight moves on, when I dig around for the ongoing story, I find it’s community coming together that provides the necessary physical, mental, and emotional support to navigate the trauma. Community. Common unity. People who hold a shared purpose of survival in the near term and long term. Neighbors taking care of neighbors.

And I think of the Irish. OK. Yes. I often, and some would say always, think of the Irish. But like many other peoples around the world, they have suffered incredible traumas of war and famine. Community is the tap root of their resiliency. And they are resilient. 

Although not all traumas are from natural disasters, it seems the Earth is shifting in ways that will continue to impact our lives. Her movements and her weather patterns seem an acceleration of impending tragedy. As these changes and resulting disasters, as we humans will name them, continue to land we can wring our hands and hope that someone out there will rush in to save us. Or we can join hands as community. I suggest the latter is a more effective life line.


3 thoughts on “Zip Lines & Life Lines

  1. I’m sure if nature is more aggressive now, we have ourselves in part to blame. The scandal of the earthquake tax is dreadful. I hadn’t heard about the zipline, and I appreciate your sharing the story and the point you make about the slowness and uncertainty of government. Since I’m in Pennsylvania, the environmental problems and issues in the western part are getting play. I’ll be heading out that way next month for a family gathering in Pittsburgh. For the Irish in us, the gathering is going to be a wake.

    • Ah, my friend. I think we are more than partly to blame for what lies ahead. Prayers that we can pull out the wisdom to chart a different course. Hope the wake is all that it can be for healing. Irish or not!

  2. As slightly weird Aunt Judy dips her toes into political water, we can hope that the Turks come to their senses about their political leadership.

    Rule by the guys with the guns is entirely too common.

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