Sunday, March 13, 2011

Deadly Beauty

It was a gorgeous spring day today!

I drove to pick up Amy and Lena from Maia's house, a road that takes me across reclaimed farmland by the ocean. It was actually my first time out of the house since the disaster. I cringed as I crossed the first estuary bridge, only peeping at the boats in the river mouth. But Erica as usual called out to me to 'look look!' at all the wonderful things she could see.

I looked again, and ocean was truly beautiful, sparkling in the late afternoon spring sunshine. Beautiful and deadly.

As I drove past, I could see the sea wall, inadequately high for a 10m tsunami, and a sliver of blue beyond. I looked all around me at the old wooden houses, the trees, the concrete block walls, the gardens, gravestones, shops, roads signs and all the things that would be swept up with the mighty waves and brought inland to crush and pulverize and slam into more houses and buildings and cars and people.

This tragedy is so real to us here because we can SEE it happening all around us. Mum called me today and said much the same thing, she can see it too, she remember the types of houses, the neighborhood, stores, shrines and temples, everything that would be gone.

It's not that I care more about Japanese lives than Haitians or Pakistanis, it's that I can PICTURE it so much more vividly, it really brings it home to me.

I checked my evacuation bag today, what a joke. Six plastic raincoats (not illogical, our most common risk is typhoons, and the flooding that follows them), 3 packets of brown sugar blocks (unrefined blocks of natural sugar), two boxes of candles, but no matches or lighter, earphones and batteries, but no transistor radio. No torch, rope, or first aid kit. And one sparkly crunchy space blanket from space world. I guess I need to re-think the evac bag...

1 comment:

Bryn said...

I think you nailed it exactly! This disaster hits so close to home for me, because I walk streets exactly like those up north everyday.

My favorite pass time is to just wander aimlessly through street after street of the Japanese neighborhoods around the base. I can picture the streets of Fukushima and Sendai perfectly, the shop owner tossing a bucket of water out onto the street, the hunched backed Baa-chan pushing her cart, the group of high school girls in their matching uniforms giggling at the corner.....everyone going about their ordinary day one minute, their whole world destroyed in the next....absolutely horrific.