The sweet smell of pine floated on the crisp air yesterday in the towns of Layton and Kaysville Utah, and will likely persist for the coming week. Not since our experience waiting through Hurricane Hugo, have I seen first hand, wind damage like what we found as we left the freeway and entered the old, and normally sleepy neighborhood where my parents live.
Each home we passed, seemed damaged in some way, whether suffering structural damage, or having their beautiful trees blown down, few if any escaped last weeks wind storm unscathed. The farther in we drove, the more my expectation of finding a sad and down trodden people became likely, but when we pulled up to the mountains of fallen tree limbs and debris behind which my parent's little home was hidden, I found something quite different.
The dull whir of gas generators, acted as the constant background for the symphony of chain saws, wood chippers, power tools, adult laughter and playing children. I was immediately greeted by five adult men, two younger, while the other three were closer to my father's age, but all smiling as if they were the excited hosts of a huge party. People thronged the neighborhood, where more pickups and trailers had gathered than would be found at a redneck world fair, ...it was truly unbelievable.
My cute little mother was in her work clothes and in the thick of the clean up, while Dad, having only a week ago suffered a bout with Pneumonia, remained inside the house. My brother in law Chad was there with two of his beautiful girls, as was Lane, my older brother, the consummate care taker of our aging parents, as well as us, his younger siblings. All were red faced and breathless in the cold, yet still smiling and happy, as was everybody I saw.
Having arrived late, I hurried to get busy on the damaged roofs of both the house and garage, perhaps the best job of anybody, because of the beautiful vantage point it offered. Feelings of goodness radiated all around as literally thousands of people for miles around all united in a common cause. Seemingly oblivious to the loss of electricity, giant trees broken or uprooted, crushed cars, sheds, and homes, the elderly residents of my parents neighborhood couldn't have projected more happy faces, and with the added spirit brought by car and truck loads of eager loved ones and friends arriving to help, I felt treated to be there with Marianne and the kids.
The wonderful smells of fresh cut conifers, beautifully chaotic sounds of busy hands, machinery, friendly chatter, and intoxicating feelings of brotherhood were enough to make a believer of me. My niece called up to me as I was just finishing the last roof repair and asked,
"How does it look from up there Uncle Quinn?" I joked back at her that I had the best job, but taking a moment to really look, I thought to myself,
"It's like looking down on Heaven."
When helping each other, the human family truly resembles God, its literal Father and in my opinion, there isn't a better view, ...from Heaven, or here.