Such a tragedy: Nature can be so cruel

I feel cold to the core when I think of the tragic death of the beautiful young people and their heroic teacher in the flash flood in Tongariro National Park this week. These amazing people, united through their love of nature, felt the cruel hand it can also deal.

My heart goes out to the families, school and everyone concerned. It’s such a tragedy that these wonderful people should be taken so harshly in the prime of their lives. They all had so much to give and so much yet to experience.

As a parent my heart really wells with sympathy. We give our children all the love we possess and the confidence to eventually fly the nest. But just as a bird is vulnerable to the elements and the wild; so too are our children. Some children are taken through the dark side of our urban environment; traffic, violence, drugs. But, others, often those so deserving of a long and fulfilled life are taken in the natural environment that is so intertwined with beauty and danger.

I pray that all those close to this tragedy eventually find a way to move forward. I pray that the rawness they feel now will be replaced by happy memories and celebration of short, but incredibly precious lives. I pray that lessons are learned and less risks taken; but this isn’t always easy – nature is all too often unpredictable – just as life.

So many of us live in cosy homes so far removed from the caves and dwellings our ancestors knew as shelter. Their lives were polorised by harmony and struggle with their environment. Dangers were accepted as part of everyday life. We often think of different dangers afflicting our young in our urban environments. We know the risks of the natural world; but often feel able to control it and be prepared to battle it with security of, ‘We’ll be alright.’. We thrust ourselves ‘back to nature’ in order to essentially ground ourselves. To escape from our urban suffocation.

These wonderful people tragically died living a dream. Bless their families and friends and bring them comfort at this tragic time.