Monday, July 12, 2010

The rainbow - a sign?

It can be so very tempting to look at a rainbow at see a sign in the sky. It's part of our makeup.
Of course, the scientific among us will see refraction and angles and say it's merely pish-tosh that such a natural phenomenon would be "a sign."
But if it were ... wow. I came back from a city meeting tonight to see a horizon-to-horizon, stunning, perfect rainbow, perfectly centered over the Morning Sun's plant.
It's been tough there. Over the past 12 years, the paper has weathered the bankruptcy of two different parent corporations. We've seen layoffs. We've seen cutbacks and freezes, but through it all, we've done good journalism and served our communities.
Now, we've got new leadership at the top of the corporation, people who seem to have vision, who aren't afraid to try things.
And there's a sense of optimism inside.
Perhaps it really is a sign.

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.