I'm not huge into poetry or anything, but many years ago I read a book by Clive Barker--Weaveworld--that contained a piece of poetry by William Butler Yeats. It's a famous poem called The Second Coming, and it's fairly short:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I think I've mentioned this poem before, but it bears repeating.
As I worked last night and early this morning on the very mundane and kind of boring task of organizing parts of the expansion, it struck me how chaotic things are around here. Sort of a controlled chaos, since we're working on so much at one time. The assault teams are still out there scouring the land of zombies, fighting for hours each day to ensure the boring task of managing logistics here in my office is safe.
The gyre is widening each day. New Haven as it is now will soon be only a small center in a whirlwind of activity. The scant few hundred citizens that have lived here longer than a few months will be lost in a press of new arrivals, a relative flood of humanity we only dreamed of a year ago. While Yeats was waxing poetic about the end of the world using biblical imagery, I can't help but see the parallels again and again over time. We've been through the absolute worst the world had to throw at us; we've persevered through it.
Time and again we've had our feet kicked out from under us. Friends and families lost, setbacks in every shape and size. We've hurt each time, but ultimately New Haven always stands back up, brushes off the dust and wipes the blood from our eyes, and soldiers ever onward.
That's who we are. It's what we do. Not because it's the only choice; it isn't. We could lay down and die or give less than our all in our endeavors. No, it's because our identity as a people demands a high level of sacrifice and effort. We push each other to do better, to do more.
Make no mistake, we think this expansion and the resulting immigration of so many new people is a good thing. It's just that there's a sense of loss around here lately. We've had to make terrible choices to keep ourselves safe and to ensure the expansion moves forward. The people of Louisville suffered for that, regardless of what side of the line between right and wrong they were on. Aaron said in a comment about the Louisville group's illness that we had changed, and while I still think we made the only choices we could in order to survive, he wasn't wrong in that assessment.
We have changed. New Haven as it is now will soon cease to exist. Maybe we're afraid that the sense of identity will become diluted or vanish within a sea of thousands of people. Maybe we've spent so long being in control of our choices and our future that we're afraid of losing that to a larger group. It's not unreasonable fear at all, but neither is it a reaction that will change the path before us one iota.
People come and go at all hours, shipments of supplies from the north come in more often, and things are being built. We might be a little scared of what this will mean for us, but we're also excited about it for the same reason. Dreams of a New Haven bustling with life and love and laughter aren't some abstract hope for a tomorrow long down the road. It's happening now, right in front of us. We're making it happen.
Think about that for a second and marvel at the strange alchemy of it. Through nothing more than logical choices like building walls and making the county safer to move around in, creating running water and trucking in busloads of people, we're making New Haven a place where new life will be created. Just through hard work and planning, many more babies will be born here, people will fall in love in greater numbers, laughter could spread among thousands instead of hundreds. The potential of our home is being expanded right along with the protective walls around it. That's beautiful.
And, yes, I know that along with the wonders come all the dangers. No one understands the pitfalls of human nature better than we do. Survivors can't help but be aware of how far we can fall.
But today, despite all the heartache that we're dealing with (or perhaps in spite of it), I choose to be positive. To think about the good. If we didn't make that choice now and then, I think we'd have died off long ago.