Clear and chilly this early Friday on California’s north coast — the skies are twinkling with stars and a fat-sliver of the moon hangs quietly out over the Pacific.
We’re supposed to have sunshine and warm temperatures today in a typical spring outing for us up here.
Shitty already this morning. We usually receive national headlines mostly from those friggin’ earthquakes, but this morning a more-horrible news event — a bunch of young people die in a bad way. Via CNN: A FedEx truck crossed a median and slammed head-on into a bus carrying students in Northern California, killing 10 people, authorities said Friday.
High school students from the LA area headed up here to Humboldt State University for a freshmen-to-be-look-see event.
This really, really sucks.
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Tragedy,’ found here).
The accident happened early last night — I was already well asleep by then — on I-5 near the little town of Orland, about 100 miles north of Sacramento. They were apparently headed toward Redding on the interstate, where they’d then have taken Highway 36 over to the coast, one of the few routes to get behind the Redwood Curtain.
When I travel south (and return), I always use Highway 20 out of the town of Williams, a few miles south of Orland on I-5 — if the bus had only taken that one…
The students and their chaperones were to attend today’s Humboldt State Spring Preview — most-likely to be cancelled — from schools in the south LA area — our own best online news site, Lost Coast Outpost, has some pix of the wreck scene, and this Tweet from a passenger: “cant believe this just happened.. i was asleep and next thing you know i was jumping out for my life”
The accident was of the worse sort of road tragedy — from the LA Times:
Marc Smutny, 27, was nearby when he heard “probably three explosions” and ran to the scene.
“It was insane. The bus was engulfed in flames, smoke in and out of the front,” Smutny said.
“The bus looked like it took most of the hit. … It was horrible.”
Really, if you tried hard, you couldn’t get any worse than that. Details of the ‘horrible‘ will be coming today, I’m sure, but the impact can’t be handled by a human brain.
When incomprehensible shit like this happens, always reminds me of the quote from Ernest Hemingway, found in ‘The Moveable Feast,’ and is sorrow of a pure form:
“You expected to be sad in the fall.
Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light.
But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.
When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
A tragedy that’s hard to shake.