Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Marker - A Memory - A Memorial

"Gone, yet not forgotten, Although we are apart, your spirit still lives within me, forever in my heart."

This is the same overlook where I have taken numerous pictures and where, no doubt, I will take many more. For as many pictures as I have taken there, well over 100 that I can count, I had not seen this marker. This day, I finally saw it. I was amazed I had never noticed it before. I am not sure of the significance of the jar of pennies that was once intact. If you look at the background, you can see that this marker hangs over at least 200 feet of cliff below it, if not more.

I don't know who this marker is written for. Given where it has been placed, it could be for any number of people. There were, rare, rescues of live people and, many, recoveries of deceased people. I took part in many recoveries from this place. At times I was involved in making sure there were no other victims. Often in the dark, more than several times, I skirted poison oak and prayed the rattlesnakes would leave my dog and I alone as we searched what we could at the spot where the vehicles would come to rest. It was a narrow, treacherous and a frequently, slippery area. I have repelled down, been flown down to, and hiked down to this area numerous times. I have stood at the edge ensuring no one else got too close as we attempted rescue, or made a recovery. I stopped a woman from looking at her brother in a condition no one should ever have to see their loved one. I know closure is important, but nightmares aren't necessary.

Now this lookout is just that. A lookout. Measures are in place to keep cars from flying off the cliffs here. It is odd to me that, until I saw this marker, the changes that had taken place to turn this area into a vista point had sufficiently allowed my mind to close off the memories of the tragedies that had taken place there.
Tragedies that I had had some part in. I had talked about them abstractly while being elsewhere, but hadn't even thought of them in the many times over the many months that I have stopped and taken pictures.

Until this day.

Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life. ~Jean Paul Richter

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