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  • June 10th, 19 days after the storm

    From a distance I can't read it. A girl, 14 or 16, walks toward me with a black lettered sign that is bigger than she is. A covey of cars is parked at the top of the street, at the path into the park. With the blur, I'm sure that the sign reads, "No Trespassing." She says something hushed by the wind, but the word "blessings" makes it through. Her sign reads, "The Courage."

    Near the heart of the park I meet a man named Israel. He's with the church group, an organizer, and he's been here since day two. The bridge of his nose is badly blistered after more than two weeks of our Southwestern sun. We exchange "where are you froms?" He's here from the northern part of Alabama. We talk about the mountains and he informs me that he works in the second largest canyon in the country, after the Grand. He searches his mind for a list of movies that have been filmed there. Nothing I remember, but it sounds impressive still. The group is holding a prayer meeting. They chose the park tonight for the same reason that I have. You can feel something here.

    Two blocks west the machinery rumbles and bangs. There isn't a security guard here scaring me back to a safe distance. I get close. The truck driver approaches. He watches and casually directs traffic while the other men work. The other men shut down the equipment and rest, while he hauls their load. He tells me that this crew, about five men, are all from Alabama. Pointing in the direction of the park, no more than two hundred yards away, I mention that Israel is also from Alabama. The driver doesn't seem very impressed by this coincidence. He hauls logs back home, volunteered to be here, felt like he had to help, to do something.

    And they have.
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