I'm sitting here stunned this evening, watching the nightly news. There on the screen is a site that is very familiar to me and it creates horror in my heart. Numerous people swept out to sea by Hurricane Bill from an outcropping called Thunder Hole near Bar Harbor. One child died. The people were gathered there to watch the ocean and a rogue wave hit them, throwing at least a dozen into the ocean from the rocks.
This story is tragic within itself, but holds a special meaning to me. See, I almost lost my husband there on that outcropping 4 years ago. We never had a honeymoon when we got married, so for our 25th anniversary we spent several weeks traveling New England. We had an adorable cabin just outside Arcadia Park at Hull's Cove, Maine for a week of the trip. We spent one day just touring the coast line and exploring all the coves and outcroppings. Thunder Hole was amazing! At the Tidal Watch area, there are railings that you hold onto as you watch the tide come in and create a whirlpool within a crevasse. It's very slippery and hard to walk and that day the waves were spraying up on us. Randy kept fussing over me as I had just had knee surgery a few months before and he was sure I was gonna get hurt (I am klutzy ). But I wore strong hiking boots that gripped well: he had on Keene sandals.
There were several places along the coast line where we stopped to explore and I only went a short distance toward the water as the small rocks were hard to navigate. I was concerned about falling as I was loaded down with 3 cameras and a backpack. Randy often went to the edge to look over and watch the waves. I have several nice shots of him doing this. Then we went to Thunder Hole. Huge glacial rocks butting up against each other, some with gaps between them where the waves came in and you had to jump across. I was tired and knew I couldn't do it, so hung back to Randy's relief. He ventured forth. Closer and closer to the edge, then I saw him rocking on these rocks covered with ocean spray. He tottered, fighting gravity and his girth, trying to stay upright on the very edge of the rocks over the Atlantic as vertigo struck. He won some control and was able to lower himself instead of a full fall down onto the rocks, partially overhanging the ocean. A disaster diverted! He rearranged himself into a seated position and scooted a few feet back and just sat there for a few minutes collecting himself. My heart was racing a thousand miles an hour. After probably 5 minutes, he slowly got back up and gingerly picked his way back off the rocks. The picture above is of his return journey to my side.
I sit here tonight torn between grief and joy. Grief for those families who lost folks in this tragedy this weekend and joy for the grace God showed to Randy in that same spot a few years ago. We never understand why tragedy happens sometimes or why some can come through the same experiences which such different results. But I know that my prayers will continue to be mixed for some time as I reflect on these events.
A larger version of this picture and some other shots of this area are available in my album "Peggy's pics" on my profile page.