Thursday, June 07, 2012
Faith in Every Footstep - Day 2
Today we drove over to Martin's Cove. The Willie Company and the Martin Company knew about each other and travelled somewhat close together, but their stories ended quite differently. The Willie Company was in Salt Lake by the time the Martin Company was finally all rescued and on their way. I knew a lot of little details from all of the personal stories that I read. It was a really neat experience to walk in the places that they walked.
We did a reverent river crossing this day. For us, the sun was shining and it felt nice to get our feet wet. When the pioneers crossed the Sweetwater river over and over, it was in freezing temperatures and snow and ice. The stories talk about the ice floating on the water and cutting their legs. My good friend Michelle B. and I were standing on the banks waiting for our turns. We talked about how at each crossing you would have to worry about if it would be over your kids' heads or not. Or how you would get them all across with the least amount of trips through the icy water. I was in tears before I even crossed.
Right before we crossed the water we sat around the statues dedicated to the (at least) 4 young men who took it upon themselves to carry everyone they could across. The statues are heart rending. One held a little boy on his hip and then when you look closer, you can see a little nose sticking out of a blanket inside his jacket where a baby lay in his other arm. Two men carry an old man with a long beard and a bandaged foot together, walking sideways. One carries a girl about the size of my daughters with her head on his chest. I'm sure they had a glimpse that day of the great deed they were doing. I hope they are still allowed the privilege to glimpse the impact those lives they saved has had to this day. There are generations of people now here that came from those people they lovingly carried when they couldn't carry themselves.
As I was crossing the river, holding on to a previously-placed guide rope and on a warm day, I tried to imagine ice floating in the water and the current pushing on my already-weakened legs. I watched as Grant walked across by himself with his arm in a sling, knowing that he would have carried many across if he could have, but he couldn't. I watched Ben carry his sister Tracy across who had earlier been riding in a rickshaw because her foot hurt from a previous injury. I watched our Pa carry our Ma across, both grinning. I watched Jake carry his Mom across with a determined look on his face - he didn't stumble once. I watched a crowd of boys that would have crossed back over and carried more of us if the missionary had let them. I watched Mitshell and Miguel watch from the bank, not being able to cross for health reasons and probably wishing they could. As we walked back to our things in bare feet, I imagined the bloody tracks that cracked and raw feet left in the snow all those years ago when their shoes finally gave out. I imagined the fear and loss they must have experienced after each and every wintry river crossing. As we left, we walked past the even smaller stream that some had to be carried across because after all they had borne, they could not stand the thought of crossing one more stretch of water.
Our kids played together every chance they got. One of the missionaries said that most groups divide off into smaller groups in the evenings to hang out. They were impressed that all of our kids played together. They had this ninja slap game and a tail snatching game. On one of the other days they even dominated Red Rover. They would play until it was dark and our Trek Mama would blow her whistle to send them off to bed.
Geoff decided he was too cold on the air mattress fully inflated and so he slept on the ground. I tried to sleep on the mattress, but without him there to hold down the other side, I was pretty much on the ground, too. Luckily taking my joint stuff and Aleve and walking a ton kept me in the manageable pain zone.