I worked most of my grief and frustration out on the bike ride in to work this morning. Most but not all, because the image on the front page of today’s L.A. Times remains branded on the insides of my eyeballs. Have you seen it?

Li Gang – New China News Agency

I can’t shake the image of the youth trapped and awaiting rescue in the rubble of a school in China. I can’t blink it away. Can you? Click it and look closer. CLOSER. Check the details. Maybe that’s part of his school uniform, but the emblem above his head could be that of a military hat perhaps given the boy by a soldier who couldn’t free him so he did what he could to comfort him. Then there’s the bruising and the blood and the muck. And the dirt encasing his nails indicating his desperate attempts to free himself. And the concrete. I feel its weight. It is heavy and it hurts.

Then there are his eyes. They look right through me with a gaze that says I am strong and I am scared. They make my heart ache. They make me wish with all my soul my arms to grow 8,000 miles long directly to him and as thick and strong as redwoods so that I can lift off the collapse from his back and I can brush the sand from his eyes and I can embrace him and raise him out of that hell and to a safer place where the healing can begin.

But instead I am left feeling helpless and fighting the urge to fling blame and wonder angrily why schools are being built or unreinforced so poorly in this age and in such an earthquake prone country — one that the celebration of the summer Olympics are headed to in a couple months.

But I put those accusations away as best I can and I bow my head and I lay my hands upon the picture of the boy, one of thousands whose futures now remain so uncertain. And though I’m not subscribed to any specific religion I close my eyes and I ask the lord to surround this boy in a powerful circle of hope and strength and support and get him out of there. Make him safe.  Make them all safe.

6 thoughts on “Heavy”

  1. This is a great post, Will. It makes me wonder why we do not have similar outrage at our own school system, which continues to build educational facilities for our children on contaminated soil.

    Shock and awe.

  2. My daughter is nuts about pandas and was worried about how the panda reserve in held up during the earthquake. We did some investigating and found out all the pandas were ok. We also found out that the housing for the pandas was better build then housing for the vast majority of the people in china.

  3. Melissa Block filed a mesmerizing report from China on today’s ATC on NPR. The link is here. Reporting from the field, Block follows the plight of a mother and father as they try desperately to get help in the rescue of family members, and in a rare moment, lets her own emotions seep through. Gripping radio. And a stunning image, Will.

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