Monday, December 31, 2012

The Drive Home, Through Newtown, Through Sandy Hook

Somewhere near Albany, the snow seemed to be melting and the winds began picking up. At a rest stop, people were complaining about the 36 degree temperature, but it was a good ten degrees warmer than Syracuse, so it felt warm. There was snow, but it wasn't as massive as CNY - just enough to make the ride beautiful.

I was apprehensive taking exit 10 off of 84 where I would drive past Sandy Hook Elementary School and the town of Newtown. I didn't want to be intrusive, but I needed to catch 20 down to the Merritt to Stratford. As I exited, the sun peaked through the white clouds and I said a few prayers. For many, Sandy Hook, Connecticut is a location on a map they learned about from the news. For others, it is where we, our colleagues, and our friends live.

It's been two weeks. On my way up to Syracuse, I missed the exit to 20 and found an alternative route. I believe this was my subconscious way of leaving my normal route to rest. I still cannot imagine the grief of the community or how the holidays, from this day on, will be a reminder of a tragic, tragic event.

Newtown was very quiet. The diner was packed as normal and a few wreaths were hung here and there. Traffic was light and stores were open with customers. Here and there, a few spray painted sheets read, "Pray for Newtown." Churches were quiet and few people were out. I made my way quietly, only to notice the pristine white that covered everything. Their parks were perfect and a few Canadian Geese walked along a pond. One hill hosted an angel for each person who lost their life on December 14th and this pierced my heart. This will be a spiritual space for many and  the town, quaint and calm, will never be the same again.

Trina Paulus, author of Hope for the Flowers, and the Connecticut Writing Project have collaborated. We have almost met our goal of providing 600 copies of her book to children, families, churches, counselors, and youth agencies in the area. Supporting this effort can be done through visiting the CWP-Fairfield website and donations will purchase the book and help  to host a butterfly release this spring.

I texted my niece in Syracuse to tell her she will compete against Newtown High School when she travels to Rhode Island for a WGI Regional - they're in the same class. I think it would be wonderful for the Northstars to bond and to do something extremely special for the students in their guard. The world is enormous, but at times like these it seems so, so small.

This is my last post for Connecticut Crandall - 2012. It is not the way I anticipated finishing the year. I know, however, that all my future writing will be inspired by the proximity of this event.

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