Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shine On

Thirty months ago today, I wrote the very first words on this blog. At the time they were only half-serious. I was so floored by what I was seeing on television that I couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that what I might be seeing was real. Yet, somehow, the deeper part of me that believes in the impossible regardless of the circumstances knew that what I saw was fact. 

From that initial spurt of violence came The Fall. The end of the world as we know it. If you're reading this right now, I'm not telling you anything you aren't painfully aware of. 

But since today officially marks my first day as New Haven's historian, I thought a little reflection was in order. It's easy to forget how the world used to be, even at the beginning of The Fall. Back then there was still working infrastructure. Running water wasn't a miracle even weeks into fighting swarms of undead. I've been looking back on how that has changed over time and come to the conclusion that we're all insanely lucky to have what we do. Hard work plays a major role, but luck? I love that bitch. 

Because I'm obsessive about seeing connections between things, I can't look around New Haven right now and witness all the great works being accomplished without comparing that to my own recovery. I'm tempted to say that I'm still not 100% or not quite right yet, but then I begin to wonder if I could make the same statement about my home. Is a community ever one hundred percent? I mean, is there a set level or state of how it should be, and when you reach that point nothing important changes?

No. And the same is true of people. I think of myself as being less than I was, and I might be. But the arc of a person's life is a constantly changing and (hopefully) evolving set of conditions. We aren't static beings. So when I see New Haven growing around me, expanding, becoming something new and different, it gives me hope. Maybe I've been looking at myself and the events that weigh me down in the wrong way. Instead of letting them fill me with guilt and break me apart, I should be learning from those events and making the active choice to become a better man. To find a better way. 

Wow. Okay, my first official post is seriously way too focused on me. Sorry about that. 

So, let me say that I know nothing is perfect. Just as I will falter and be pressured in ways I'll have to struggle against, so can a community. 

Take the undead, for example. Our assault and patrol teams have been very active the last two days as more zombies make their way in from Louisville. Most of the Louisville crew--along with our volunteers that went there--have made their way to Franklin county. We've got the temporary quarantine zone set up for them, but the trip here seems to have reinforced whatever trail the undead follow to get here. They smell people and take to it like a dog hunting bacon. Without the presence of a large number of living people in Louisville to take their attention, nearly all of the zombies coming from across the river head here now. 

The good news is that our assault teams had fairly well emptied the county of zombies, so the new arrivals, who are nearly all New Breed themselves, don't have any waiting clusters of allies to team up with. The bad news is that we've had to take another fifty people from work crews to bolster the number of fighters out there keeping the undead population in check. 

Which sucks, because we are making amazing progress with the expansions. It's going a bit slower than it was a few days ago, obviously, and may slow down even more as easily obtainable materials thin out. That's okay, though. There is no shortage of creative solutions with so many people here putting thought into how to solve so many logistical problems. I just hate to see our momentum blunted even a little, not when the expansion and settling of the first wave is going so well. 

It's stupid and kind of mental of me, I know. The reality is that the increase in assault and patrol crew is probably keeping us at the highest level of productivity possible. Though there are several hundred zombies shambling around at the moment, no major attacks have hit us solely because our people are breaking up clusters of them and swatting down would-be attackers in droves. Not having to fight them here at home means we can accomplish a lot. 

And, yeah. I do mean 'we'. I've put in some hours over the last two days swinging a hammer and learning the finer points of improvised plumbing. I've been invited to work at my discretion with several work crews among the first wave's carpenters. Because of a slight misunderstanding with some industrial glue and a crew foreman with no sense of humor, I've been asked not to work on any more pipes. Ever.

The only serious burr in the music of our daily lives at present is the Exiles. That's a situation still pocked with perils and pitfalls. So far no roving groups of them have declared war on us, but given the circumstances and how much we outnumber them now, I doubt there would be any grandiose gestures anyway. Those Exiles out there in the wild who don't like our decision regarding our captives and the idea of another amnesty aren't likely to tell us they're going to attack. If it comes, there won't be warning. They'll just strike as hard as they can. 

But, as Gabby keeps telling me, I can't focus on what might happen. None of us can. We have to plan for those situations, but life is meant to be lived. Work has to be done, plans met, and family seen to. Which is what I have planned for today. I'm off to start the hours-long process of making a big lunch for all my friends and family, in thanks for the time they took caring for me and reminding me that the world can be a beautiful place. 

Zombie-plagued, filled with people that want to shoot my face, and a struggle to survive in, but beautiful all the same. 

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