Thursday, February 3, 2011

Things That Don't Happen Here

   Just when I thought it couldn't happen, it did.
   My sister left a tension edged voice mail. "Call me back when you get a chance. Something happened at Northern Michigan today that I think you need to know about."
   A little cold thread crept through my heart. No. Not in Marquette. Not at my campus, all green and tranquil and edged by Lake Superior. My knees went weak. Tried to screen out images of peace torn by a spray of bullets.
     I called.
    Well, the thing that I had feared the most, that NMU would be added to the list of shootings with  Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, hadn't come to fruition.  An early morning web surfer has stumbled across a threat to take out the NMU president and more students than at Virginia Tech. He alerted the Marquette Police Department. The threat was credible enough to start the ball of canceling classes and locking down campus as well as the hospital and public schools.
     A blessed, blessed false alarm. Routines returned to their usual rhythms by late afternoon, and classes were back on today.
     I spent a lot of yesterday bouncing between Upper Peninsula news sites and Facebook. I was able to get back in touch via the latter with a friend from undergrad, a gift in the grey hands of the whole deal.
     While no words can shape the profound gratitude in my heart, I'm finding myself struggling with a sense of violation as one might feel after one's house gets broken into. The home of my last shards of innocence has been violated. I don't know what the new normal will be. But it will never be quite the same again.

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