The trip I am on right now is a work trip to a place I have been many times. I know this area well and often visit the same locations while here that I have been to numerous times previous. One spot, in particular, is a special place for me. It is a place that I have often found myself distracted from the work I am doing by its incredible beauty. A place I have brought my family when we have visited together. A place I have always wanted to share with others.
In 2006, however, things changed. A combination of a rare natural event and human encroachment resulted in a massive and unfortunate incident that wiped this place clean of what had made it so impressive before. I was there not a few weeks later and the devastation was total. It was unrecognizable.
Fast forward a few years and there have been small signs of recovery, but the place remains a shell of what it was pre-2006. It's like visiting a sick friend who you keep hoping will get better, but the prognosis doesn't look good. Maybe it will just take time, but the likelihood of a complete recovery seems low.
I was at this place yesterday and it was in the worse shape I had seen it since arriving after the mess in 2006. Maybe it is the season or the weather or the year, but seeing this once-vibrant place still in such tough shape, and looking worse than last year, made me feel a little sick. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road on the timescale that is relevant for this kind of place, but it doesn't make me feel much better.
Get better old friend.