I almost wept when we I got out of the bus. Seeing my home, my family, and my friends was a shocking dose of normality, which is crazy, given how strange my life had grown before this trip.
I am incredibly thankful to be alive, that everyone who left with us came back in one piece. I am thankful that my sister and her family is with us, that we were able to bring Treesong and the remainder of his group with us. I cannot imagine what that slim number is feeling, to have seen so many others slaughtered before their eyes.
I am thankful, so don't take this wrong, as it's only an observation: I could not imagine how much medical attention my mother and Gabrielle would be lavishing on us.
Patrick, already having a sizable facial scar, seems oddly at peace with a few more. Steve has only minor cuts and burns. Jess and I are stuck at my mom's house right now, being hovered over. I'm certainly not complaining about having medical care available, I am just kind of shocked at how much this house and the people in it have changed since we left.
Mom and Gabby must have started converting it a soon as we left, maybe before. Mom tells me that Gabby went out with a small party and scavenged a lot of equipment and supplies. Most of the space inside her house has been turned into what is pretty much an urgent treatment center. They even have generators set up, just in case. They have all sorts of plans to go and try to find some more solar panels, turbines, all the stuff we have at our own house. The idea of anyone doing something even that risky is, at least for right now, enough to make me nauseous. So we're going to donate the turbine we stole, and plan to gather more later.
They expected much worse casualties, which I guess is obvious.
It's interesting--only gone a week, but the difference in the compound is as dramatic as it is in this house. All around, I see row after row of churned earth, some with tiny sprouts. All over I see signs of progress, of growth, of change. Fences have been torn down on our block, our massive communal back yard a nest of growing structures and plants.
All over, I see signs of growth, but not only the life sustaining growth of plants and needed buildings. Sadly, I see other walls forming, other seeds breaking into the open with the same jealousy, hate, and misunderstanding that seemed to be the only oil that society's wheels turned on. I used to pride myself on being able to see what was around me, to read people. I was so proud that we had begun to build something here, and had helped others to survive and make something better with us.
What an idiot I am. No matter how much of a realist I thought I was being, I can only be called an optimist in comparison.
I see it in the eyes of the people who visit us. I hear it in the tone of their voices as they tell us the goings on around the neighborhood during our absence, in their questions. Body language screams at me, so clearly that I wonder how other people don't wince the way I do when some people show up, though I pass it off as kidney pain.
I know many of them will read this: good. I want all of you to know that there are some simple and hard truths that we will have to all agree on. This place, our compound, is all we have. We are all individuals, which is to be celebrated. We disagree, which is the foundation of debate and useful conversation. But I feel how deep many of the divisions around here run, and this cannot continue. I am not issuing a decree, no grand statements of purpose. I am simply relating provable truth. We are a small group that may or may not grow. We have lived where the vast majority have died, which makes us dangerous. These factors make it clear to me that we MUST calm ourselves, we have to force ourselves to choose reason and logic over emotion, religion, or any other factor.
Our past experiences can be hurtful and scarring. I sympathize with those who have suffered. But to be blunt, I won't let that stop me if you raise a hand in violence against another person for any reason other than to defend your life. I can't make this any more clear.
If any of us allow our minds to be clouded by rage, or pain, religion or hope, we risk the safety of everyone. It is in my nature, and not my job, to be concerned with the welfare of the group. I wish that others felt this way, but I can't make it happen. But to my mind, anyway, it is clear that people should be considering the good of the tribe over personal vendetta or disagreement. Of course, I felt that way before the fall of society, and few people in the world fit that particular hope, even then.
I guess I will stop now. I have to pee in a very bad way, and it's my deepest hope that this time it won't be full of blood.
My hope is that by talking to people, by letting them vent and discussing their problems calmly, I can help them. That's probably as foolish as thinking things around here were going smoothly, but it is, to me, more reasonable.
Good luck to us all.