Sunday, July 11, 2010

A sharp, painful contrast

The contrast could not have been more profound.
Today was Robert's final performance at Blue Lake. He was second clarinet in the wind ensemble, the top band at the camp, and we went over to see the concert and pick him up.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, a Mt. Pleasant family was dealing with an unspeakable tragedy.'s Patricia Ecker had confirmed the identity of a young woman killed Friday night or Saturday, and the identity of the suspect - her older brother, who had just gotten out of prison.
Patricia called me and I would act as a rewrite man, putting the story on the Web.
I pulled out my Mac and aircard, and set up shop under a rehearsal pavilion at the fine arts camp. I pulled the suspect's prison mug shot and record from the Michigan Department of Corrections website and put the story together.
I was in the woods. Nothing but trees and beauty surrounded me. The wonderful sound of the camp's symphonic band, whose concert preceded the wind ensemble's, drifted the few hundred yards from the band shell, mixing with the sounds of birds and chipmunks.
All around me was wonder and beauty. On my screen was horror and tragedy. I was almost overwhelmed by the stark, brutal contrast.
At Blue Lake, these young people were growing up with art and music, surrounded by talent and achievement.
Back home, something had gone terribly, awfully wrong.
I posted the story, went to the wind ensemble concert, and turned off my phone. For an hour, at least, I wanted to enjoy my family's talent and achievement, but I remain haunted by the contrast.


Khristopher J. Brooks said...

It's so funny how a reporter has to evolve to keep his job. This is a wonderful example. I don't know how many times I've been tapped to take dictation for a web update. If there is one reporter out there who hasn't done that by now, step out of the way and retire to Lakeland, Fla. Good job getting the story up immediately old chap.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that you were able to get a connection. I assume that you had evdo or other wireless modem device. I have found that there only certain parts of the BLFAC campus that support cell phone usage.