Lost in the redwoods
Sunday December 05th 2010, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Life

There are already people wondering out loud why she didn’t have a cell phone with her. But she was going to an area she hiked and biked daily and knew well, and sometimes you just need some good outdoors time to reconnect with nature, not to feel tethered to the endless intrusions of a ringtone. Besides, if a mountain lion is going to get you, then they’ll know which cat it was when they call your phone inside it, right? Or not.

Whatever. Her home is surrounded by parkland. She went out on a walk.

She did not show up for work. Her boss and dear friend Tom called the sheriff.

Now, in the print story that went out earlier today, the sheriff refused to search for her. In the online version many hours later, there’s currently an update on her health status and a long explanation from his office about why they made the call they did.

It is curious to me the details that got removed from the story, though, with the shift in focus. Word got out that she was missing, and immediately her neighbors wanted to go look in the morning light to see if they could find her. A young dad took his seven-year-old son and they hiked two miles up the trail.

Now, two miles means four when you know you’ve got to get back again. They hadn’t found her, but it seemed as far out there as they were going to be able to make it, and you know how much they must have wanted to keep on going.

“Not a minute later” they happened to notice an unmarked trail they’d missed on the way up and with the sting of having accepted defeat a moment earlier, knowing what was at stake, they felt compelled to go down it.  Just five or ten minutes’ worth; couldn’t hurt.  We could do that. Giving up on their neighbor was just too hard to accept.

And there she was. She’d been there for six nights during a freezing snap, no food, a little water, by the creek, her ankle  in bad shape and trapped under the tree where she’d sought some shelter that first night.

Imagine that seven-year-old boy growing up knowing that together he and his father had pushed to the edge of what they thought he could physically do–and the fact that his father trusted him with sharing the burden of the task–and their having saved their neighbor’s life for it.  Imagine that father’s gratitude that he had decided to bring his son along with him, rather than dismissing it as too hard and too far for him to come too.

It takes a village to raise a child. And sometimes, the children help raise us back up on our feet and show us the way.

p.s. I love that the woman’s one request when the rescue crew arrived after the dad called them was for a glass of, but of course, lemonade.

9 Comments so far
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Wow…quite a story. Something for that young boy to remember all his life, and perhaps…be influenced by for equally as long.

Comment by Ruth 12.06.10 @ 12:38 am

“And thy neighbor, as thyself”.

Comment by Lynn 12.06.10 @ 5:18 am

When ye do it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 12.06.10 @ 8:49 am

I had read that article in the Merc, and thought it rather amazing that father and son decided to check that unmarked trail.

Comment by Don Meyer 12.06.10 @ 9:22 am

I love stories such as this. Thanks for bringing this one to us.

Comment by robinm 12.06.10 @ 10:51 am

instincts, your gut, an inner voice… whatever you call it, what a blessing.

Comment by Lene 12.06.10 @ 12:11 pm

That’s an amazing story, and I completely agree with you about the father and son. Sometimes in our desire to protect our children from pain, we protect them from the possibility of great good.

Comment by Jocelyn 12.06.10 @ 1:12 pm

I happened upon a fundraising event one day and read about the accident. A man and his 14-year old son came upon a car on fire with an unconscious driver. While the man struggled to reach the victim, his son ran back, grabbed tools and helped his dad pull the victim to safety. Quick thinking and brave acts for both. Never too young to make a difference in someone’s life.


Comment by Deb 12.06.10 @ 4:39 pm

During a Christmas visit to grandparents in Utah, we allowed my two teens to go snowboarding. We dropped them off and agreed to meet them at the lodge at 5PM when the lifts closed and it started getting dark. Well, Becca was there, but Matt wasn’t. The equipment rental place was getting ready to close. Only Matt had failed to return his equipment. The ski patrol was notified. I was getting really mad. I wasn’t going to give him a priviledge like this again. Then Matt slid up on a snowboard. “Sorry, Mom,” he gasped. “A skier fell and hurt himself right in front of me. He said he would be all right, but I felt I should wait until the ski patrol came through to pick him up. Gotta return my equipment!” Then he dashed off. And he was allowed to go snowboarding again.

Comment by LauraN 12.07.10 @ 9:40 am

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