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The Flower After the Storm

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:12am

There is a movie named Fly Away Home that gets better and better every time I watch it. It's a soft, gentle movie that pierces my heart about a girl from New Zealand who loses her mom in a car accident and goes to live with her dad in Canada, where she ends up serving as a surrogate mother to a flock of goslings.

It is magnificently art-directed. Elegantly acted. And indulgently filmed. It takes full advantage of the natural beauty of nature, relationships and the miraculous ability for beings to heal. One scene, in particular, shows the almost-unbelievable navigation of a hang glider and the flock of migrating geese traveling through downtown Baltimore. When I click on my little FoodShed Planet map in the right sidebar, I think of that movie whenever I see there is a reader from New Zealand or Canada or Baltimore, even though I know the incredible diversity of those areas could never possibly be reduced to that one movie.

Perhaps you thought of me yesterday, if you heard the news that instead of a flock of geese, a tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta, leaving a path of damage 6 miles long and 200 yards wide. CNN Center. The Georgia Dome. Centennial Olympic Park. The Historic Oakland Cemetery. They all got hit, including a charming little residential section of the city called Cabbagetown, where many homes were completely destroyed. Blew away in the storm. Windows and staircases and roofs. History and memories and lives.

It was the first tornado to touch down in downtown Atlanta since recordkeeping began in the late 1800s. And if you thought about me, I just wanted to say thank you, for caring just a little bit about a person that you didn't know before this magnificent tool called the internet has connected us around the world. And I wanted to let you know that my friends and family are fine.

And therein lies the beauty. The flower after the storm, like this magnolia tree I found blooming on a labyrinth I walked yesterday. People, like you and me, are connected in ways they never were before. We have instant information that enables us to take instant action. We see faces that put meaning on stories. We care, in ways that surprise us.

Yes, there were millions of dollars of damage done downtown this weekend. Yes, several people lost their lives (although there is extraodinary thanks here that more lives were not lost). And yes, the challenge of rebuilding lives and history is difficult.

Yet, we do.

And so, this Week on FoodShed Planet:

* It's my pick for Every Monday Matters this week, and I am going to choose something where I can help my fellow Atlantans in need.

* World Vegetarian Day

* The first day of Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere), and rebirth, and rejuvenation. A welcome metaphor for a city in need.
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