Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And Then There Were Twelve...

Just a few moments ago the word came. One dead earlier, and hope seemed lost. Twelve survived. The nation's first miracle of 2006. They are alive.

My father comes from coal mining country. His own father worked the mines at one time, just briefly. Thinking of his 12 children, one of which was my Papa, I can not imagine the horror those families waiting for this news suffered. I can't imagine their joy now. These are men who do brutal work for little reward.

Miracles come when we least expect them, hence their magic. Surely this miracle, of the twelve who rose from the earth against all odds, is a wonderful way to begin a new year.

They rang church bells to announce their safe rescue. I am powerfully reminded of Tennyson:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Welcome back, you twelve living miracles, with your hearts rescued from stillness beneath the earth. May those hearts beat for many years to come. Ring those bells, West Virginia. I can think of no sweeter sound on this cold January night.

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