This is How We Survive.
I’ve been both fascinated and terrified by the California wildfires. Two separate wildfires that have consumed an area as big as 16 Manhattans.
The devastation is catastrophic. As of this post, 48 people have died. Hundreds of homes destroyed. Entire towns where people laughed and fell in love and made love and had babies and rocked those cooing babies asleep simply vaporized. Just ash. Just dust. As if they never even existed.
When I look at pictures and watch videos of the California wildfires, I feel small. Like standing on the New Jersey shoreline, gazing out at the bigness of both sea and sky, slightly unnerved to know how fragile my life is.
Because geography doesn’t care about us. And when nature decides to roar–we physically don’t stand a chance.
But in the face of such cataclysm, people like Allyn Pierce show why we must have faith in the human spirit. A spirit that burns brighter, longer than any wildfire.
The story goes: instead of driving to safety, Pierce, a registered nurse, drove his Toyota Tacoma into the fire, hoping to help evacuate patients from a nearby burning hospital. When finding only a few colleagues in the hospital, he attempted to drive them to safety.
However, Pierce hit gridlock.
As the fire grew closer and death seemed inevitable, Pierce turned on Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”, recorded a message for his family, saying, “Just in case this doesn’t work out, I want you to know I really tried to make it out.”
Like a scene fit for of a movie, when all seemed lost, a bulldozer appeared, and cleared a path for Pierce’s Tacoma and other cars to escape.
The human spirit is something amazing.
Our innate, human ability to act bravely in the face of doom is what allows us to triumph over the most dire circumstances.
Because we know the truth: our actions outlive our bodies and reach far beyond our earthly knowledge.
Because our compassion, our willingness drive back into the fire, our steadfast commitment to prolong the human race is how we all survive.
For Allyn Pierce
I reach out from the inside…