I got my first visit to Haven itself today since we're now safe to move from the fallback camps to our home. The end of the world has been going on for several years now. That's good since it's the only thing that could have prepared me for what I saw.
Haven isn't destroyed, not really. Were the place a pile of rubble I would have taken it better. The walls will take a lot of work to fix, pocked with small craters all over and totally destroyed in sections. The buffer is a huge tangled mass of broken posts and cable, which is actually a good thing. Zombies get caught up in it and have a harder time getting into Haven itself. Still going to be a hard time clearing them all out until the repairs are done, but it's something.
Most of the homes are standing but riddled with bullets. I feel their pain on that front. West--the section made up of shipping containers--is virtually untouched. No one knows why, really, since that was the side the UAS attacked from. I chalk it up to one of those weird things in life, like finding a straw jammed through a piece of wood after a tornado, right next to a perfectly healthy baby sleeping in their stroller.
My own home was in pretty good shape, all things considered. Not right at the edge, its proximity to West must have been enough to shield it from the worst of the attack. My roof has certainly seen better days and the crops in our yard are dead or dying, but the house itself didn't take serious damage. Mostly cosmetic stuff. Thank baby Jesus for the person who decided every house in this neighborhood should be brick.
After I wrote that paragraph I stopped for a second and realized my house will only be my house for a little while longer.
What used to be the clinic before we moved it, my mom's old place, is gone. Must have been hit by an artillery round or something. When I saw it from the back seat of the armored vehicle, this huge pile of broken masonry and shattered wood, some part of me that held on through The Fall died. Mom would have been the first to tell me it's just a place. Only a house. It stopped being my home many years ago.
Still, I have a cane made from the wood of the giant tree from the front yard. After we cleared Haven of all trees a few years back, I carved the stump and lacquered it after mom died. The kind of memorial she would have liked; out there in nature among flowers and other growing things.
That's gone, too. All things must eventually pass, sad to say. Our lives and memories are all we have. I'm sad about it now, but I know mom's house was only a place in time and space. The good times and bad, the moments that shaped me into the man I am today, will always be with me. Just as she is, this place will sit in my heart until the day I die.
Haven--both the place and its people--is bloody and bruised. A few broken bones and some ugly scars. But as bad as it is, there is still life. Still a place to come back to and build back up. Where two of us come together, there is opportunity for some great work to be achieved. We will all carry the Haven that fell to the enemy in our hearts just as I do my mother and the place she made home. We'll keep those remembrances safe and in our minds as we--you--rebuild. New. Better. Stronger.
And as this place becomes home for all of you again, you can keep the anger you feel toward the men and women who were our enemies close. As those people show willing to be better, to do better, and to take their place in a world of peaceful if uneasy cooperation, you can look back on what they were and what they did and wonder at the people they're showing themselves to be. Do that. Remember, if only to deepen your understanding of how much they'll exceed your hopes.
That's my hope, at least.