If you can imagine a color dominating or symbolizing a period of time, then perhaps for Middletown and Harbin this false greenery depicts our time for the last few months better than any other. It comes off as awkward, slightly hesitant, maybe dishonest, juvenile – as though it is being asked to carry a message that it doesn’t yet have the voice to speak. Somehow both sickly and hopeful at the same time, this hydroseed spray is comprised of both fertilizer and grass seed, a blend of the past and future, an odd mix of death and life.
A similar theme resurfaces for us as we work toward restoring Harbin. We recognize the wave patterns; hope, grief, hope, grief, hope… What parts of our past still have something to contribute? What old spirits will nourish and inspire all these new plans…what do we care about most? What did we take with us when the fire came?
On a personal level, each of us here has had to swim in these waters and share as we could, our feelings with those still around, still remaining. But for a greater collective of people, perhaps this hasn’t been acknowledged, or acknowledged for you. This pendulum of hope and grief is not solely ours. We’ve heard from many guests how sorry they were to lose their “special place”. They spoke to us about the deep feelings they’ve endured since September; their loss of community, social support and place of retreat, not to mention the waters and land. Perhaps it is difficult to explain these feelings to people in your world who don’t know what Harbin was like, or what it meant to you. This message is to say we are there with you and that you are not alone; that the way you may be aching is recognized.
This is a process of patience. It’s a dance between the fertilizer and the seed. It’s awkward, humbling and real as dirt… and spring is coming.