Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goderich, Ontario: Post trauma and tornado - beauty from rubble



Last year, we went to the Celtic Roots Festival which is held annually in Goderich, Ontario.  The same little town that the tornado hit in 2011.  The same little town that sustained major trauma and damage.

The park that this event is in is off the road which heads down to the harbour and beach area.  If you go to the far end of the park and look down, here is what you see.  The Sifto salt mine and harbour.  (This is a close up shot using my zoom lens.)


Going to the festival, I wasn't really thinking of the tornado.  It had been almost two years by that time.  Most, if not all, of the damage from the tornado had been repaired.  Life goes on.  Memories fade.  Especially if the event doesn't affect you directly.

I don't live in Goderich nor do I know anyone who does.


The festival takes over the entire park.  Tents with vendors are all over the place along with a story telling tent, a small tent for daytime performances (pictured below) and a large, outdoor stage for the night time performances.

Arriving at the tent for the daytime performances, I was greeted by this amazing tree sculpture of a lion.  I'd never been in the park before, so I had no idea of its history.  Here in parts of small-town Ontario I've noticed a growing trend for people or municipalities to take damaged trees, cut them down so there's a large stump and carve it.  Sometimes, as in the lion above, they're painted.  Sometimes they're not.  But however they're done and wherever they are, they are intriguing.



It wasn't until I was taking the picture below and overheard a couple of women conversing to each other, that I discovered the origin of these particular sculptures.  They were made from trees that had been damaged or broken off during the tornado two years earlier.


They were Goderich's memorial to the tornado but also a permanent marker of this small town's resiliency, it's courage, it's focus on healing and restoration from this event.  It's determination not to let a "little" thing like a tornado destroy its identity.

In short, this little town on the shores of Lake Huron made something beautiful out of the rubble, the destruction.


As I walk through my own journey through the rubble and devastation left by workplace abuse and trauma, I often meet others who have or are walking a similar path.


Some of which, like me, are still in the process of recovering, of finding out who they are, what their passions are and what they want to make of the rest of their lives.  But some have already been there and done that.  Some are already in the process of creating new and beautiful lives for themselves.

Like the lady I met early on in my own journey of recovery, quite by accident, who left her abusive workplace and started a bead store in a small town in Ontario.  She related that she was so much happier in her new life.

Or, there's the lady I met after the writers conference who had read my blog.  She too had her own story, her own experience of workplace abuse, more than a decade earlier.  She ended up using that experience, as difficult and painful as it was, to build a new life, a new profession based on her passions and creativity.  She's now a writer, singer and songwriter.  

Wow!  And backwards !woW.


Not everyone has these kinds of stories.  Not every tree that has sustained major damage in a windstorm is used to make a work of art.

The trees had no choice in the matter.

We do.

I do.

Every day I choose to get up in the morning, get dressed and sit down at my computer is a victory.  A day of grace.

Every day I choose to focus on recovery and enjoy the things I have left is a day of victory.  A day of grace.

Every blog I post is a victory.

Today, I am victorious.

*******

So, the rambler rambles a bit going off the projected course once again.  But it seemed to fit right here, right now, in the course of this blog and in the course of my life.

I'm not a tree.  

I'm not completely there yet, but I'm committed to the process of getting there.  Whatever there will look like for me.

Maybe as a writer?  Perhaps a photographer?  Or how about my knitting and crocheting?  

One of the above?  Two of the above in combination?  Or maybe a mix of all three?

Who knows?

Where are you on your journey?

What strengths, what passions, what talents do you have to throw into the process of recovery?

Until tomorrow, have a good day.


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